|Birth Day:||May 25, 1979|
|Birth Place:||Frimley, England|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He found success at rugby, basketball, cricket and tennis in high school.
Jonathan Peter Wilkinson was born on 25 May 1979 at Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley, Surrey and grew up in Farnham. He attended Pierrepont School, Frensham and Lord Wandsworth College near Hook, Hampshire, and played at youth level for Farnham Rugby Club.
England moved into the quarter finals, where they met Wales at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Aided by the arrival of Catt at half-time, Wilkinson went on to score 23 points in the match, which England won 28–17 to proceed to the semi-finals. England met France, whom they had beaten earlier that year on two occasions. England won 24–7, with Wilkinson scoring all of England's points through his kicking. In the final versus Australia, with the scores level at 17–17, Wilkinson received a pass and kicked a drop goal in extra time with just 26 seconds remaining; England won 20–17. The last time Australia had lost a World Cup match was eight years earlier in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, when Wilkinson's mentor Rob Andrew scored a drop goal at the stroke of full-time to win the game for England. After the match, Wilkinson expressed his relief at converting the winning drop goal, as it was his first success in four attempts during the match. The win gave England its first Rugby World Cup, and broke the Southern Hemisphere's dominance of the tournament. Wilkinson became the tournament's leading points scorer with 113 points. He was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and also named the 2003 IRB International Player of the Year.
He gained a place at the University of Durham, but gave his place up in 1997 to become a professional rugby union player with the Newcastle Falcons.
Wilkinson started his career at Newcastle School of Rugby as an inside centre, competing for a place with international veterans such as Inga Tuigamala, and Lion Alan Tait. He became a fixture in a side that went on to win the 1997-98 Allied Dunbar Premiership title. By March 1998 he was in the full England Test squad. Wilkinson began his international career as an unused replacement against Scotland, before coming off the bench, replacing Mike Catt, to play on the wing against Ireland at Twickenham on 4 April 1998; he was only 18.
He then participated in England's "Tour of Hell" in June 1998 that saw them suffer heavy defeats to both New Zealand and Australia (who defeated them 76–0). Wilkinson returned to domestic duties by taking over from Rob Andrew, who was made Falcons head coach (later Director of Rugby), as both their fly-half and goal kicker. Wilkinson became a fixture in the England team, and started in all their matches in the 1999 Five Nations Championship. He played for the Falcons in their 1999 Tetley's Bitter Cup final defeat to London Wasps.
The following year Wilkinson played in all five of England's 2000 Six Nations Championship matches. England won the championship, however they missed a Grand Slam after losing their final match against Scotland. Wilkinson then toured South Africa with England in June 2000, kicking all of the points in their 27–22 win in Bloemfontein. He was then capped another three times for England during the end of year internationals.
In 2001, England again won the Six Nations Championship. After the opening win over Wales, Wilkinson set an individual Six Nations Championship points scoring record with 35 points against Italy at Twickenham on 17 February, to overtake the record of his Newcastle Falcons mentor, Rob Andrew. England won all their subsequent matches during the tournament, with the exception of the Irish match, which was postponed until October.
The incomplete 2001 Six Nations Championship was concluded in October, with England playing Ireland. England lost 20–14 at Lansdowne Road. Both Ireland and England had won four out of the five Six Nations fixtures, but England's superior points difference ensured they clinched the title although, for the second year running, not the Grand Slam. In a match against Australia for the Cook Cup in November, Wilkinson scored all of England's points in their 21–15 victory at Twickenham. After being rested as an unused bench replacement in the subsequent match against Romania, he then played a large role in a win over the Springboks, in which he kicked seven penalty goals in the 29–9 victory. Going for a third Six Nations title in a row, England got off to a good start in their 2002 Six Nations Championship with wins over Scotland and Ireland, before losing to France at the Stade de France. England won their remaining fixtures against Wales and Italy but France went on to complete a Grand Slam. The Falcons were in Pool 6 in the 2001–02 Heineken Cup, and won one match, finishing fourth in the pool.
Wilkinson wrote a column for The Times occasionally until 2011, often during periods of high media focus on rugby, such as Six Nations tournaments and Rugby World Cups. He has also written five books, which have been published by Headline. The first, Lions and Falcons: My Diary of a Remarkable Year, written with ghostwriter Neil Squires who also helped Wilkinson in a few other books, was released in 2001, and followed a turbulent rugby year for him. The diary documented the England rugby player's strike, the Newcastle Falcons winning the Powergen Cup, the 2001 Six Nations Championship and the British and Irish Lions tour at the end of the year. After helping England win the Rugby World Cup with his last-ditch effort in 2003, he released his second book in 2004. The book, My World, was largely picture-based, with less writing than in his previous publication. The writing that it did contain was focused on his experience of the 2003 World Cup, and how his life had altered following the winning drop goal.
In 2002, Wilkinson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). In the 2004 New Year Honours, he was promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). It had been suggested that he would be knighted in the 2015 New Year Honours, but this was revealed to be false. In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 'for services to Rugby Union'.
Within a couple of weeks of winning the World Cup, Wilkinson was found to have had a broken facet in his shoulder and missed the 2004 Six Nations Championship and the disastrous tour of New Zealand and Australia. He was named captain of the England team on 4 October 2004, replacing Lawrence Dallaglio, who had resigned five weeks earlier. However, he was kept out of the 2004 autumn internationals by a haematoma in his upper right arm, the captaincy being taken over by Jason Robinson and then Martin Corry. In January 2005, he injured his medial knee ligament in a match against Perpignan. He missed the opening matches of the 2005 Six Nations Championship and on his return to Newcastle on 13 March 2005 he injured the same knee again.
In almost 18 months, he had played a total of only 937.5 minutes of competitive rugby union, but was nonetheless given a chance to prove his fitness for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Initially Wilkinson was left out of the 44-strong squad which was announced by Clive Woodward on 11 April 2005. However, on 8 May Woodward announced he had added the fly-half to the squad after Wilkinson had proved he was injury-free and fit. Wilkinson made his first international appearance since the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final on 23 May at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as the Lions played Argentina. Wilkinson, along with the rest of the team, played poorly, but he kicked a conversion and six penalties and salvaged a 25–25 draw with the last kick of the game.
In 2005 How To Play Rugby My Way, which accompanied the BBC series "Jonny's Hotshots", was released. It was largely a coaching/instruction manual, with tips and techniques for rugby playing. It also included small insights to Wilkinson's family life and the relationships which have allowed his rugby playing to flourish. Wilkinson's book 'Tackling Life', was released in 2008. This book focuses on how his aspect on life changed after his injury woes, and how he overcame them. His fifth book, Jonny: My Autobiography was released in 2011.
During the second game of the 2006-07 Guinness Premiership season against Worcester Warriors on Friday, 8 September, Wilkinson was helped from the pitch after 47 minutes with a knee injury incurred when one of his team members fell on him after he was tackled. A scan confirmed that he had torn the medial ligament of his right knee. He returned to play a full 80 minutes in the 26–21 win against leaders Bristol on Friday, 3 November, kicking a conversion, a drop-goal and two penalties. It was reported on 9 November that Wilkinson suffered a lacerated kidney during the match. He returned from this injury in the Premiership game against Leicester Tigers on 27 January 2007, coming off the bench after 37 minutes. On 29 January 2007, Wilkinson was selected at fly-half in the starting line up for England in their 2007 Six Nations Championship opener against Scotland. England comprehensively beat Scotland 42–20 to regain the Calcutta Cup, Wilkinson making an impressive return, scoring 27 points with five penalties, two conversions, a drop goal, and a try. This broke the previous Calcutta Cup individual record of 24, set by Rob Andrew. Wilkinson was awarded the RBS Man of the Match as adjudicated by BBC commentator, Brian Moore. In the following match against Italy at Twickenham, Wilkinson scored 15 points to become the highest individual point scorer in the history of the Five/Six Nations with 421 points.
In the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final, on 20 October at the Stade de France, South Africa won the Webb Ellis Cup in a game where Wilkinson slotted home 2 penalties, but missed 2 drop kick attempts. He was one of only four players to have started both the 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cup Finals, the other three being Phil Vickery, Jason Robinson and Ben Kay.
Because of a succession of injuries – affecting his knee ligaments, arm, shoulder and kidney – Wilkinson's international career was severely disrupted. He did not appear again for England until 1,169 days after the 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph, for the opening game of the 2007 Six Nations Championship against Scotland on 3 February 2007. In his comeback international match, Wilkinson scored 27 points (a record in the Calcutta Cup) in a full house (scoring points by all four possible methods), and was proclaimed Man of the Match.
The following week against Italy, he became the highest point-scorer in the history of the Five/Six Nations Championship (he has since been overtaken by Ronan O'Gara of Ireland). On 6 October 2007, he also became the highest point-scorer in the history of the Rugby World Cup, kicking four penalties to overtake Scotland's Gavin Hastings in a quarter-final against Australia.
Wilkinson is widely known as a teetotaler, but broke that habit after England lost to South Africa in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final. Wilkinson seeks to eat natural foods, avoiding toxins.
Going into the 2008 Six Nations Championship, Wilkinson was the obvious choice as England's number 10 and started the first four matches. Against Wales on 2 February 2008, Wilkinson scored 14 points, but England put in a poor display to fall 19–26 after squandering a 10-point lead at half-time. Wilkinson then amassed 27 points in England's next two wins against Italy and France. A disappointing loss against Scotland on 8 March, in which a number of the England squad put in poor performances, raised questions about Wilkinson's inclusion in the starting line-up given the emerging English talents at the number 10 position. 20-year-old Danny Cipriani was the main back up stand-off throughout the tournament (along with Charlie Hodgson), and replaced Wilkinson in the starting line-up for the last match of the tournament against Ireland. This was only the second time in his England career that Wilkinson was dropped to the bench (the first time being for the 1999 Rugby World Cup quarter final match with South Africa for which Paul Grayson was preferred). However, close to the start of the second half during the Ireland match on 15 March, Wilkinson was brought off the bench to replace Toby Flood, thus playing alongside Cipriani at inside centre. This suggests a possible synthesis to the balance of nurturing up-and-coming fly-halves while incorporating the leading player in the position in recent years into the squad.
Despite competition over his position, Wilkinson ended the 2008 Six Nations as the tournament's top points scorer, compiling 50 points. He was not considered for Martin Johnson's first England squad (the 2008 summer tour of New Zealand) due to a shoulder injury. He was joined by Danny Cipriani on the sidelines after the Wasps player also missed out due to injury. On 1 July 2008, Wilkinson was named in Martin Johnson's Elite Player Squad and was the only specialist fly-half in the squad.
Wilkinson made his recovery from shoulder surgery to score 22 points on his return game against Northampton on 14 September 2008, including a 45-metre last minute drop goal. Further sparkling performances and robust play indicated Wilkinson was playing injury free and back to his best. Unfortunately, the injury jinx struck again in the Guinness Premiership fixture against Gloucester on 30 September 2008. Wilkinson was forced off the field with a dislocated knee, which left him unavailable for England's autumn internationals and for the rest of the 2008-09 Guinness Premiership season. Wilkinson's injury facilitated a recall to the England squad for the Autumn Internationals for Danny Cipriani, who had returned from a serious ankle injury on 1 October 2008. In May 2009, it was confirmed that Wilkinson had ended his 12 years with the Falcons to join the French team Toulon for the 2009-10 Top 14 season.
In a 2008 Six Nations Championship match against Italy, Wilkinson became the first English player (and third overall) to score 1,000 Test points. He is also the world record drop goal scorer in international rugby with a total of 36. In March 2008, he became the highest international point-scorer, overtaking Neil Jenkins of Wales. In September 2008 he was injured again, ending his 2008-09 Guinness Premiership season.
England won 67 of the 91 games Wilkinson played in. Wilkinson scored a record 29th Test drop goal against France in the 2008 Six Nations Championship. His first converted penalty against Scotland on 8 March 2008, took him 3 points past Wales's Neil Jenkins tally of 1090 Test rugby points. This achievement came due to the IRB (now known as World Rugby) retrospectively granting full Test status to the 2005 British and Irish Lions warm-up test against Argentina, in which he scored 20 points, without which he would have remained behind Jenkins on that day. Two more penalties in the second half took his tally to 1099 points.
In July 2009 he was recalled into the England Elite Squad for the first time since the 2008 Six Nations Championship and was confirmed in the squad for the 2009 Autumn internationals after a successful run of games with Toulon. Wilkinson was then selected to tour Australia with the elite squad but was not selected as first choice fly half, nevertheless Wilkinson landed the winning points in the second test between England and Australia. Injury forced him to miss out on the 2010 autumn internationals, in the process losing his position as the all-time leading points scorer in test rugby to Dan Carter. However, Wilkinson reclaimed the record during the 2011 Six Nations Championship, a tournament during which he came off the bench in each of England's five games. He again lost the record to Carter in July 2011. On 12 December 2011, he announced his retirement from Test Rugby.
In May 2009 Wilkinson agreed to join French club Toulon on a two-year contract, leaving Newcastle after 12 years.
On 3 April 2009 at Guildford Cathedral, Wilkinson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey for services to the sports industry. Wilkinson announced his retirement from the English national squad in early December 2011.
Wilkinson followed Buddhist principles and teachings to help control his perfectionist tendencies, according to an interview he gave with The Times newspaper in 2009.
On 26 February 2011, Wilkinson regained the record for the highest tally of International points, overtaking Dan Carter of New Zealand by scoring a penalty against France in a Six Nations match at Twickenham. Carter then reclaimed the record on 30 July 2011 in the second 2011 Tri Nations Series match against South Africa. Wilkinson passed Ronan O'Gara (522) to regain the overall points record total of 526 in the 2010 Six Nations Championship, on 13 March 2010. Wilkinson holds the Rugby World Cup points record with 277 and is the only player to score points in two Rugby World Cup Finals.
In September 2011, Wilkinson launched Fineside, an online men's fashion label.
In April 2013 Wilkinson played the full 80 minutes in Toulon's Heineken Cup Quarter-Final, scoring all 21 points against Leicester Tigers. Wilkinson then landed 7 penalties and a drop goal to defeat Owen Farrell's Saracens. In May 2013 he scored 11 points as Toulon won the 2013 Heineken Cup Final by 16–15 against Clermont Auvergne. Wilkinson finished as the ERC European Player of the Year for the 2013 tournament, having not missed a single place kick in the knockouts with 17 from 17 attempts and finished with 56 points in the knockouts alone and 108 points in the entire tournament.
On 28 October 2013, Wilkinson married his girlfriend of eight years, scaffolding company heiress Shelley Jenkins, in a private ceremony at the town hall of the French resort of Bandol. Only two guests, one of them Wilkinson's mother, were present at the ceremony officiated by Bandol mayor Christian Palix, who said that "both [are] viewed with great respect" in the community.
On 24 May 2014, he led Toulon to a decisive 23–6 win against Saracens in the 2014 Heineken Cup Final. He scored 13 points in the game. One week later on 31 May 2014, he led Toulon once again to another win in a final, this time the Top 14 Final against Castres in which Toulon won 18–10. Wilkinson kicked 15 points. This was the last match of his career. After the final whistle, supporters from both clubs sang "God Save the Queen" in tribute to him.
In May 2014, Wilkinson announced that he would retire from all rugby at the end of the season.
As of 2015, Wilkinson had made more tackles in world cups than any other back.
On 17 November 2016, he was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at the opening ceremony for the Hall's first physical location in Rugby, Warwickshire.
Currently, Jonny Wilkinson is 44 years, 0 months and 4 days old. Jonny Wilkinson will celebrate 45th birthday on a Saturday 25th of May 2024.
Find out about Jonny Wilkinson birthday activities in timeline view here.