Former England flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of this season.
Wilkinson won 91 England caps and kicked the drop-goal which won the 2003 World Cup.
The final two games of the 34-year-old Toulon star’s career will be Saturday’s European Cup final against Saracens and the French Top 14 final against Castres the following weekend. “I’d like to focus all my energy on the team and the final two games,” he said. “It goes without saying that I have an enormous number of people to thank for their support from all around the world but especially here in France and in England.
“I sincerely thank you all for everything you have given me and for making these last 17 years something I will never forget.” Wilkinson retires as one of just five men to score 1,000 points in international rugby, with his total of 1,246 second only to New Zealand great Dan Carter.
He made his debut for Newcastle in 1997 and stayed with them until 2009. It was during his days with the Falcons that he came to the attention of then-England coach Sir Clive Woodward and made his international debut as an 18-year-old.
He won the 2000, 2001 and 2003 Six Nations before his famous kick in Sydney against Australia in the final minute of extra time secured a 20-17 victory. Wilkinson struggled with injury after that but still played a key role in taking England to the 2007 World Cup final, while he won the Six Nations again in 2011.
He retired from international rugby with 91 caps in December 2011, by which point he was already making a new career for himself in France.
He won the European Cup with Toulon last season and will be bidding for back-to-back wins in Cardiff on Saturday.