How Wilko nearly packed it in
Tue, 02 Apr 2013 06:44
In November, I was hesitating
England's World Cup winning flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson has admitted there had been times during the present season that he had thought of ending his hugely successful career.
However, Wilkinson - who turns 34 on May 25 and has been playing top level rugby since he was 17 - added he had changed his mind and convinced himself he could still play another season of Top 14 rugby next term.
Wilkinson is now on the verge of signing a year's extension to his Toulon contract which will keep him at the club for the 2013/14 season.
"In November, I was hesitating as to whether I should extend my contract or not," said Wilkinson, who is the leading Top 14 points scorer this season.
"Mourad (Boudjellal, the Toulon president) said that was not upsetting for him if I hadn't yet made my mind up and that helped me a lot.
"I took the time to reflect on it and to ask questions of others in helping me reach the right decision.
"I am not going to hide the fact that sometimes I woke up in the morning thinking I should stop and then the next day I changed my mind.
"It is vital never to panic and also not to decide anything too quickly," he added.
Wilkinson, forever remembered for kicking the match-winning drop goal in the last minute of extra-time in the 2003 World Cup Final victory over hosts Australia, said he had had to convince himself he still had what was necessary to play at this level.
Also he was mindful that playing at flyhalf he was depriving former Wallaby number one Matt Giteau and present controversial French first choice Frederic Michalak form playing in that position.
"I was afraid of making it a season too many. The worst thing is not if you don't win the title because all the teams have the same ambition and at the end of the season there is only one that can do so.
"No the worst would be if I played for a year too long, and I didn't bring anything positive to the team. That would have annoyed the other players and that I do not want to do.
"I have said throughout my career the worst thing is to be in a team for the wrong reasons.
"If I play, it is because I think I can have a positive influence around me".
Wilkinson, who moved to Toulon from Newcastle Falcons in 2009, said that the extension had not been signed yet but it was progressing nicely towards that end.
"We are presently discussing it. Everything is going very well in that regard and I hope that it is all signed and sealed very quickly.
"For the moment, though, I am mainly thinking about the big matches ahead for the club than about extending my contract."
The first of those big matches comes this Sunday when Toulon play English giants Leicester Tigers in the European Cup quarterfinal clash.
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