Former England international and rugby union legend Jonny Wilkinson has been named as the European Player of the Year, after the exceptional tournaments he took part in with his current team, Toulon. The European of the Year award is handed out based on of the performance of a player in both the Amlin Challenge Cup and the Heineken Cup, making Jonny Wilkinson an obvious choice for the award after leading his team to Heineken Cup success.
Wilkinson was the player of the tournament for Toulon, especially in the final, as he kicked 11 of their 16 points. Toulon triumphed over Clermont Auvergne in a 16-15 victory, which saw a try from Delon Armitageearn earn Toulon 5 points – Wilkinson single-handedly scoring the rest. The Englishman, whose drop goal secured England the World Cup victory in 2003, led his team to their first major trophy win in over 20 years. Altogether, in the quarter-final, semi-final and final Jonny Wilkinson converted all 17 of his penalty attempts.
The other players who joined Wilkinson on the European Player of the year shortlist were: Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne)and Sitiveni Sivivatu (Clermont Auvergne). Wilkinson commented, “To receive an award of this importance towards the end of my career is really special. I feel privileged to have been nominated.”
Jonny Wilkinson is close to his retirement after playing at the very top level for 15 years now, and has had a fantastic career so far. Wilkinson holds several international records such as scoring a total of 277 points in World Cups – 50 more than any other player. Also, he has scored 1,246 points in internationals, which is second best only to Dan Carter who has scored 1,385. Additionally, he holds the record for the most points scored for England, with and incredible 1,179 in total.
Author Daniel Foster.
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