England’s most famous and revered rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has today announced his retirement from international rugby, bringing an end to a career that saw him obtain 1,246 test points and help his squad sail to victory in the 2003 world cup.
In a statement released on his official website Wilkinson said: "I would like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from international rugby. To do so fills me with great sadness but I know that I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the England rugby team.
"I have no intention of letting this decision change the way that I approach my training and preparation for games, but the time has come for me to realise that I have gone as far as I can go with this England team.
"To say I have played through four World Cups, two Lions tours, 91 international games and a ridiculous number of injuries and other setbacks give me an incredibly special feeling of fulfilment. I know myself well enough to know that I will never truly be satisfied.
"I would like to wish the England squad every success. I would also very much like to extend those wishes to Martin Johnson, Brian Smith, Mike Ford, John Wells, Graham Rowntree and the rest of the England 2011 World Cup management team who have been fantastic and deserve people to know that."
The fly-half became a national talking point in 2003 when his drop goal against Australia sent England home with the Rugby World Cup, with many comparing his rise to global recognition to that of David Beckham’s.
England’s world cup captain Lewis Moody spoke the stars praises after the announcement, but was still surprised by his retirement, saying: "I am humbled to have played alongside him. His contribution over the years, his work ethic, professionalism and commitment have been immense. He put everything into what he did.
"The fact that he missed four years of international rugby but still amassed 97 caps is unimaginable. It is a real shame he has decided to retire because he could have given even more."
After a disappointing world cup campaign from the England squad, this news comes as yet another blow for England fans. We’ll miss ya, Wilkers.