Rugby: Toulon welcomes Wilko news

Jonny Wilkinson's decision to retire from international rugby has been welcomed at his French club Toulon.

Rugby News: Jonny Wilkinson

England's hero is very much also the star man at the Top 14 outfit and the fact that he can now concentrate fully on his club duties is undertandably a cause for satisfaction - celebration even.

Wilkinson helped Toulon to victory over Agen on the day he announced his international retirement and the club is expecting plenty more out of their 32-year-old fly-half in the seasons to come.

His Toulon and former England teammate Simon Shaw told Sky Sports News HD: "The weight that has come off his shoulders ... I think he will go on to play even better than he's ever played before.

"Even though there is an awful lot of pressure here at Toulon to perform week in and week out, he sort of thrives on that pressure and I am sure he will go on to be a class player for a number of years still."

Australian Matt Giteau was a member of the Wallabies team which was beaten by Wilkinson's drop goal in the 2003 World Cup final. He joked: "I just wish in 2003 he chose to retire because I was in that final when we lost!

"But he is a true professional. Everything that people say about him... before I got here I heard how hard he trained and things like that, but then to actually see it, he deserves every accolade he gets."

Toulon's general manager Bernard Laporte added: "Why play for one year more? I think it's the right decision."



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