Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jonny Wilkinson OBE (born 25 May 1979 at Frimley in Surrey) is an English rugby union player and current captain of the England Rugby Union team. He plays his club rugby for the Zurich Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.
He was spotted by former England fly-half Rob Andrew and brought along with his family to live in Newcastle. Though he is probably the world's most famous fly half he started his career as an inside centre.
He made his England debut in 1998 at the age of 18. By the end of 2003 he had scored 817 points (more than twice as many as any other England player) in 52 matches for his country.
He plays at fly-half, and is particularly known for the accuracy of his kicking. He is also noted for making hard hits often 'bouncing' opponents.
He has a reputation for an obsessive approach to training; in particular spending hours a day on goal-kicking practice. This has shown some dividends; in 2003 he kicked the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time of the final of the Rugby World Cup against Australia, and soon after was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Wilkinson was also named the 2003 IRB World Player of the Year. In the same year he became the youngest ever Rugby Union player to receive a New Year's Honour with an MBE, and received an OBE in 2004.
His rate of scoring suggests that, barring further injuries, Wilkinson should break the current (2004) international world record points tally of 1,052 (held by Neil Jenkins) by 2007. However, he has not played the game at international level since the 2003 World Cup final due to successive injuries.
Within a couple of weeks of winning the World Cup he was found to have had a broken facet in his shoulder and missed the 2004 six nations championship and the disasterous tour of New Zealand and Australia. Wilkinson 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 haetomia in his upper right arm, the captaincy being taken over by Jason Robinson. 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 total he has played a total of 938 minutes of competitive rugby union in almost 18 months yet may well be fit for the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand.
- My World by Jonny Wilkinson (ISBN 0747242763)
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