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Coaches and players pay tribute to Wilko

13 December 2011

  • Former team mates and coaches praise Wilinson's skill and professionalism
  • Mark Cueto calls Wilkinson one of the best defensive fly halves in the history of the game

Lewis Moody

A birds-eye view of Jonny Wilkinson kicking a penalty

Photo: Getty Images

"Jonny is one of the most professional individuals I have ever worked with. He put everything into what he did, it was incredible to watch him. It's a real shame he's decided to retire, but what he's given to English rugby is immense. He was ferocious in the tackle, it was one of the things that made him so special at fly-half. He brought his own mark to the fly-half role, and he dedicated himself to being the best he could be. It was inspiring to train with him, he was a very controlled player, a calming influence on the pitch - I was privileged to play on the same pitch as him."

Mark Cueto

"The more he achieved, the harder he worked, and that's an unbelievable attribute to have. He was an unbelievable player. The dedication and work-rate he had on and off the field were unbelievable, and that made him what he was. To continue that after the successes of 2003 in particular, and to stay so humble and grounded, is a massive achievement. He had that aura of reliability around him. He was probably one of the best - if not the best - defensive 10s in the world ever."

Matt Dawson

England fly half Jonny Wilkinson

Photo: Getty Images

"I'm not surprised I think the way that Jonny Wilkinson is, he's a class act, he's a gentleman and I don't think he was ever going to announce it near a World Cup, during it or straight after a World Cup. I'm sure that decision was made some time ago but it's right, he's a class act and I think he has done it in the right way. It's a shame though that he feels so sad because that says to me that maybe he has a few regrets which he should have."

Stuart Lancaster

"He will, of course, be remembered for that drop-goal but he is more than that, a model sportsman - down to earth and hardworking, who has never stopped trying to be the best that he can. Everyone who has played with, coached and watched Jonny play should feel privileged to have had an involvement with him. Not only has he been a world-class player but he has inspired thousands to play and watch the game of rugby.

Clive Woodward

"He set out to be the number one player in the world in his position but behind that his team ethic was fantastic and he was a real role model for that. He just put everything into his game in terms of off the field - he left nothing to chance. I admired how he went about his business and how much work he did when no-one was around. He did a lot on his own, studied and learned the game. It's a lesson to any young person about what has to happen. He took his game to a whole new level."