8 3 mins 8 yrs

And another great goes …

It’s Man Saturday as far as I’m concerned. Before the Champions League Final this evening, Saracens take on Toulon in rugby’s equivalent. The beers are already chilling. Jonny Wilkinson makes his last appearance in these lands, captaining Toulon, before finishing his astonishing career for good next week in France. What a player, and what a thoroughly decent Englishman. I’d normally want Saracens to win, but Jonny W lifting the trophy (which he did a year ago) would be truly fitting. Not only did he define the Fly Half role in his prime, I reckon that with his unbelievable kicking ability he might still be the world record points scorer if it wasnt for the chronic injuries his tackling often resulted in.

Now I could mention that World Cup winning drop goal, which will always send tingles down my spine (and why not, since I was in bits by that late, late stage of the 2003 final), but I’m going to reminisce for a moment and go back to a day when I did a bit of corporate troughing at Twickenham, where England took on the mighty All Blacks.

November 2002 it was, and the All Blacks had Lomu, Doug Howlett, Tana Umaga, King Carlos Spencer and Andrew Mehrtens on the pitch. What a great team they were. But they were beaten that day by an England team which went to New Zealand six months later and beat them there, and which won the World Cup a few months later (manfully chokes back a tear at the memory). And what a great minute of rugby this was that day at Twickers, sparked off by England robbing the ball deep and Jonny W sending a wide pass to Tindall, who looks strange with hair now. It ended with 80,000 expecting Jonny W to slot over a drop goal, but he had other ideas. Come on, who can watch this and not think, what a great game this is – ? Absolute magic from a top man.

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  1. Well written piece Pete, the emotion shines through. I would agree that Jonny is indeed a ‘thoroughly decent Englishman’, courageous, skilled, modest, reflective and always praising the abilities of others.
    I think my wife is secretly in love with him….. πŸ˜‰

  2. Agit8ed

    Dunno about your wife but to me it seems like you are the one secretly in love with him πŸ˜‰

  3. Colm,
    I would be proud to be his father or his friend..

    Anyway how’s you doin’ these days?

  4. I’m fine thanks – been busy recently , not on ATW as much as I usually am. Also am I the only one finding it difficult to get on the site. Sometimes I have to try several times before the website opens.

  5. Quite right too Agit8ed.

    There’s many a Frenchwoman in love with “Sir Jonny”, as they call him over there. He’s handsome, modest, polite and a brilliant rugby player.

    An hour ago he lifted the Heineken Cup for Toulon after an impeccable kicking and tactical display. Even now, on the verge of retirement, he’s the best English 10. And the French love him. For years he was the player they most feared, but now thay’ve taken him to their hearts. A moment in the final struck me, and it was astonishing. Let me describe it.

    He was replaced with five minutes to go and joined his teamates on the bench. They included Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha and Carl Hayman. We’re talking three world cup winners for South Africa and New Zealand, three of the great players, three big, hard men, and they were reverential towards him. He wouldn’t want that of course, he’s much too decent and nice, but these rugby giants love him and admire him.

    The French do too. Sir Jonny has done more for our image in the South of France than a million politicians and bureaucrats ever could.

  6. I’m fine thanks – been busy recently , not on ATW as much as I usually am. Also am I the only one finding it difficult to get on the site. Sometimes I have to try several times before the website opens.

    You know of course that ‘they’ are able to block undesirables….
    In these days of superheated politics and elections and predictions, and analysis! I have been spending more time on another blog, batting for UKIP and sanity…. πŸ™‚

    I love your enthusiasm.

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