AFTER helping Toulon to Top 14 final glory in Paris, Jonny Wilkinson admitted that it will take him time to come to terms with his impending retirement from rugby.
The former Lord Wandsworth College pupil kicked all but three of his side’s points in their 18-10 victory over Castres in the Stade de France on Saturday night.
The game was Wilkinson’s last before retirement, and emotion got the better of him after the final whistle. Having been mobbed by his team-mates as the stadium speakers blasted out God Save the Queen, the 35-year-old was left walking around the stadium with his head in his hands.
“It is impossible to put this feeling into words,” Wilkinson said. “I’ve spent half of my life with a ball. It’s going to be a huge shock after rugby but I’ll have a lot of good memories.
“Part of me wants to jump up and down and run around because it is such a great day, but something is holding me back.
“It is wondering what the hell I am going to do now. It’s a scary time, but it happens to everyone and you need to understand that your time runs out.”
Winning the Top 14 final meant that Wilkinson was able to go out on a real high, having helped Toulon to the Heineken Cup with a 23-6 victory over Saracens in Cardiff a week earlier.
In Paris, Wilkinson opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty and while Max Evans’ try put Castres ahead, two further Wilkinson penalties and a trademark drop-goal had Toulon 12-10 ahead at the break.
Wilkinson and former London Irish star Delon Armitage kicked further penalties in the second half to confirm victory for Toulon.