- Jonny Wilkinson visits grave of William Webb Ellis in Menton
- Home world cup in 2015 excites England legend
Jonny Wilkinson has once again placed his hands on the William Webb Ellis trophy and said the home rugby world cup in 2015 is the chance to showcase everything that is great about the sport.
To mark the first European qualifier between Hungary and Bulgaria, the 2003 world cup winning hero took the famous trophy to the grave of the rugby’s founding father William Webb Ellis in Menton, France.
And the 33-year-old fly half, who has hinted at an international swansong with the British and Irish Lions in Australia in 2013, listed the reasons why it will be such a unique experience for all those involved.
“Having the opportunity to host the world cup in England is enormous, it goes beyond words,” said Wilkinson, whose 1179 points for England remains the national record.
“The opportunity to have everything that is so good about rugby – the values, the teams, the energy, the atmosphere, the inspiration, the intensity, the pressure and the special moments we know we’re going to get.
“To have all that ahead of us now, we don’t know what it’s going to be like, but we can put everything in place to give it the best possible chance of being as good as it can be. The great thing about world cups is that they surprise you every time.”
Photo: Getty Images
Wilkinson plays his rugby for in the picturesque Mediterranean port of Toulon and made the trip along the south coast to visit the burial place of Webb Ellis, who is credited creating the sport as the first man to run with the ball in his hands at Rugby School.
The former Newcastle Falcon said the moving nature of the visit sparked thoughts of Webb Ellis’ contribution in starting a game which has given so much to so many.
He added: “Once I saw the grave it gets a lot more serious. It was all very jolly on the way up here but there lies someone who has changed the life of so many millions and I hope he’s aware somehow of what he’s created.
“The inspiration and motivation it gives to youngsters, the spectacle, the way it has changed lives. However you trace it back it will come down to one guy and his decision to follow his dreams and give us a sport we’ve all benefitted from, me more than anyone.”