Home' Greymouth Star : May 20th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Toulon flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson,
whose last-gasp drop goal secured
England World Cup glory in 2003,
will retire from rugby at the end of
the season, he announced today.
The 34-year-old will look to end
his 17-year senior career on a high
when he leads holders Toulon in
the Heineken Cup final against
Saracens on Saturday, followed a
week later by the top 14 decider
against Castres when his side seek
to win a first French championship
in over two decades.
“I would like to take this
opportunity to formally announce
my retirement from playing rugby,”
he said in a statement on Toulon’s
“It goes without saying that I
have an enormous number of
people to thank for their support
from all around the world but
especially here in France and in
Wilkinson made his test debut
in 1998 at the age of 18, becoming
international, with his second test
a 76-0 thrashing at the hand of
Australia in the so-called “Tour of
From that inauspicious start he
went on to play 91 test matches
for his country, despite suffering a
number of serious injuries, helping
them to the 2003 World Cup title
and runners-up four years later.
He played six tests for the British
and Irish Lions, and is the second-
highest test points scorer behind
New Zealand’s Dan Carter with
Noted for his unique kicking
stance that was later replicated by
players around the world, he was
deadly in front of the posts and
unflappable in the most highly-
charged of match situations, never
more so than the 2003 World Cup
final against Australia in Sydney.
While he did not like to be
defined by his drop-goal in the
last minute of extra-time that won
England their first and only world
championship, it is undoubtedly
the image that comes to mind for
rugby fans the world over.
The highs were also matched
by lows, Wilkinson suffering a
succession of injuries with his
refusal to shirk a tackle and general
bravery on the pitch leading to
a litany of serious knee, arm and
After the 2003 World Cup final,
he did not play another test for
England until February 2007,
having been invalided out of the
Lions tour to New Zealand in
2005 after the second test.
He helped England to a grand
slam in 2003 and further Six
Nations titles in 2000, 2001 and
“ For four years from 1999 to
2003 he was one of the greats
of the game,” former England
international Stuart Barnes told
“ He sealed his reputation as
England’s greatest flyhalf of all
time. Through injury and loss of
form, he rather lost his way a little
bit but the way he is finishing his
career and playing brilliantly is
“ You wouldn’t say he was the
most naturally gifted player but the
work he has put in to become the
player he is is quite astonishing.
He is undoubtedly the greatest
professional in terms of work ethic
that professional rugby has ever
At club level he spent a decade
at Newcastle Falcons, and then
moved to France in 2009, where
his late-career revival helped
Toulon to their first Heineken Cup
title in 2013 and to this season’s
decider against Saracens.
“This however is not at all the
time to be concentrating on this
as I would like to focus all my
attention and energy on the team
and these final two games of the
season,” added Wilkinson, who
will celebrate his 35th birthday a
day after the final.
“ I sincerely thank you all for
everything you have given me
and for making these last 17 years
something I will never forget.”
His last match will be the top
14 final against holders Castres in
Paris on May 31, when he can sign
off on his career by leading Toulon
to its first French championship
since 1992, having been runners-
up in 2012 and 2013. — Reuters
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 11
hang up boots
PICTURE: Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson lines up a penalty shot.
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cookware, six pre-loved
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SELLING. Box of pots,
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bikes, cross trainers
Coastguard West Coast thank the following
for their kind donations and time for our
Tai Poutini Polytechnic
Fishing & Firearms
Kotuku Surf Life Saving
Coastguard Lake Brunner
We also thank the families who came for
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Duck Race Results
Last Duck: 21
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Home Replacement Insurance Valuations
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THE WEST COAST
Notice is hereby given
of a Special Council
Meeting to be held at
10.30am, Tuesday May
Venue: West Coast
Offices, 388 Main South
Road, Paroa, Grey-
This meeting has been
called for the West
Coast Regional Council
Councillors to hear sub-
missions on Council's
Draft Annual Plan.
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Greymouth Car Centre
PB Davy Auto Electrical and Mechanical
Smith Speed and Spares
Tasman Tyre Treads Ltd
bikes, cross trainers
To be listed in this daily directory
just contact Pravina 769 7925 or
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Available in Monday, Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday Greymouth Star
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The Blues, in desperate need of
competition points in order to keep
their slim chance of a play-off place
alive, will probably wish they could
play Friday night’s match against
the Sharks at Eden Park rather
than North Harbour Stadium.
The Durban-based team will have
grown their support base among the
North Shore’s large South African
population even further following
their stunning 30-25 victory over
the Crusaders in Christchurch,
their first in the city and done with
only 14 players for the majority of
The visitors will hope to have
plenty of support, the home side
will hope they can transfer their
unbeaten record at Eden Park over
Their record at Albany has not
been great over recent years; neither
has their record away from Eden
Park. They have not won a match
away from their headquarters since
the start of last year.
Veteran Blues hooker Keven
Mealamu is well aware of the size
of the challenge.
On Saturday, he arrived at
the All Blacks training camp in
Christchurch, switched on the
television in his room, and was
pretty much transfixed for the
remainder of the match as the
Sharks turned the tables on the
A committed effort, which reaped
three tries against the tactically
and mentally deficient Crusaders,
extended the Sharks’ lead on top of
Jake White’s side looked like
championship material and a
different team to the one which
suffered a shock loss to the
Highlanders in Durban earlier in
“They have got that real strong
mentality to be able to play for
most of the game with 14 players,
and at a stage with 13 players, and
I think that ’s why they are where
they are on the table,” Mealamu
said. We’ve got a big challenge
ahead of us, particularly when you
look at the threat their for ward
pack poses. We’re looking for ward
to the challenge. ”
Asked if the victory was one of
the more courageous he had seen
over years, he said: “I definitely
think so. They had a couple of guys
playing their 100th games as well
(front rowers Jannie du Plessis and
Tendai Beast ’ (Mtawarira) so that
probably added to what they were
trying to achieve.
“ I don’t think they’ve been able
to do that (win in Christchurch)...
so to be able to hang in there with
their backs against the wall was a
pretty good effort.”
John Kirwan’s team will be
without Piri Weepu for the match
after the halfback injured his groin
playing club rugby in Wellington
during the Blues’ bye weekend. It
is not thought to be overly serious.
England head coach Stuart
Lancaster has confirmed Dylan
Hartley ’s chances of participating in
next month’s tour to New Zealand
Hartley has been out for six weeks
with a shoulder injury that is taking
longer than expected to heal due to a
failure to regain strength in the joint.
It is still unknown whether
the Northampton hooker will
be involved in Friday ’s Amlin
Challenge Cup final or the Aviva
Premiership final the following
England are facing a crisis in the
No 2 role with Tom Youngs unavail-
able due to family reasons, David
Paice ruled out through injury and
Rob Webber a doubt because of
a knee problem. Lancaster, who
delivered a more promising update
on fullback Mike Brown’s hip injury
by stating he will resume training
next week, revealed Hartley will be
given until next Tuesday to prove his
“Dylan, as you’ve heard from
(Northampton director of rugby)
Jim Mallinder, is making slower
progress than hoped for with his
shoulder,” Lancaster said.
Northampton throughout the week
and make a decision on him before
we fly (next Tuesday). With Tom
Youngs, Dylan and David Paice out
of the equation, if Dylan isn’t going
to be fit and Webber is 50-50, there
will definitely be an opportunity for
a hooker without much experience.”
Even if Hartley does play for
Northampton over the next two
weekends, he will miss the first test
against the All Blacks as it is being
staged a week after the premiership
A path has been cleared for
Webber, currently England’s third-
choice hooker, to face New Zealand
in Auckland on June 7 — provided
he can overcome his own injury
problems. — PA
Hartley in fitness race to face All Blacks
Sharks threat concerns Mealamu
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