Jason Robinson heaps praise on ‘outstanding’ Jonny Wilkinson
Former dual-code England rugby international Jason Robinson hails Jonny Wilkinson as "one of the all-time England greats"
Accolades have showered down on Jonny Wilkinson since he announced his retirement from international rugby, with players and personalities from all corners of the global game applauding an exceptional career with England and the British and Irish Lions.
Few players have achieved the status enjoyed by the former Newcastle Falcons fly-half – but another player to have claimed a place in the pantheon of rugby greats is his former England team-mate Jason Robinson.
“Jonny Wilkinson has got to be one of the best players to have ever played the game and just to have been around him has been fantastic.” said Robinson.
“He’s been so influential to so many players. His dedication, his commitment and his willingness to give 100 per cent in everything, his knowledge of the game and the fact that he’s such a nice lad. He’s very humble for somebody who has reached the heights he has achieved and for him to keep his feet firmly on the floor has been great to see.
“It’s sad, obviously, that he’s retired. He obviously has a few years left in him and he’s committed himself to Toulon, but what a player.
“I was lucky just to have been able to share his company and to be able to glean so much from his knowledge of the game, especially coming into rugby union when I did.
“I was keen to learn the game and the laws and when you are coming up against some of the big boys and to be able to look around in the huddle and see guys like him and Dallaglio and Johnson ““ that certainly was a confidence booster. If you needed more confidence and you looked around, you saw guys who, under that pressure, with their backs against the wall, would come up with the goods time and time again.
“For many years he struggled with injuries and seemed to have one setback after another. To come back from that just showed real character and just a willingness to play and a willingness to get better.
“And when you speak to guys who played with him and against him, they knew that they’d have to be on their game. He’d always be looking to raise the bar. If you played against him you were always looking to shut him down and to make sure that you didn’t give away penalties because you know his boot would punish you.”
The former dual-code England international added: “He deserves all the praise and the accolades that he’s had. He’s been outstanding ““ one of the all-time greats of English rugby.”