Moody, O’Driscoll & more: Twitter reacts to Wilkinson’s retirement

Lewis Moody and Will Greenwood are among the tweeters after Jonny Wilkinson confirms he will retire at the end of the season

Former England hero Jonny Wilkinson has finally confirmed his retirement from all rugby at the end of the current season.

The Toulon outside-half has two title chances left to navigate between his 35th birthday on Sunday with Saracens and Castres standing in the way of one of rugby’s most-loved sons ending his career in style.

Not that he really needs much more success after a 17-year career that saw him win 91 England caps and six British & Irish Lions caps, scoring a combined 1,246 points before calling a day on his international career in 2011.

Add to that his 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning heroics, four Six Nations titles, a Premiership title, the Powergen Cup twice, and the Heineken Cup last season, as well picking up runners-up medals in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, two Amlin Challenge Cup finals and two Top14 finals.

Here is a selection of some of the tributes doing the rounds on Twitter from the rugby world on Monday after the announcement.

Racing Metro and Wales centre Jamie Roberts ‏(@Jamiehuwroberts) can’t help but remind the world that a Welsh sporting great also announced his retirement on Monday: “Rather poignant Giggs announces his retirement the same day as Wilkinson. Two of the greats”

Former England hooker turned broadcaster Brian Moore ‏(@brianmoore666) sums the news up in uncompromising style: “Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement — what a player; what a man.”

Tom May (@TomMay1), Wilkinson’s club team-mate for 12 years at Newcastle Falcons and Toulon, summed up everyone’s thoughts: “Rugby won’t be the same without @JonnyWilkinson. Changed the game. Changed way kids tackle! You will be missed. Pleasure to play with you.”

Montpellier and Scotland lock Jim Hamilton (@jimhamilton4 ) has fond memories of coming up against Wilkinson in battle: “1of the best rugby players ever 2have lived retires at the end of season Honoured 2have played against and b dump tackled by @JonnyWilkinson”

Wilkinson’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning team-mate Lewis Moody ‏(@LewisMoody7) joins the tributes to professional rugby’s standard bearer: “Hey @JonnyWilkinson sad to hear ur retiring pal. Was a pleasure playing alongside u. Enjoy the last few weeks #RoleModel #setthestandard”

Another of Wilkinson’s team-mates for that World Cup-winning drop-goal in Sydney, Will Greenwood (@WillGreenwood), pays tribute in his own jovial way: “I hear the big dog is leaving the building…. @JonnyWilkinson #nicefella #rockstar #anorak #woodenrighthandpass #happymemories

But by 3pm on Monday afternoon, Wilkinson’s Lions team-mate Brian O’Driscoll (‏@BrianODriscoll) was still catching up with: “Congrats to a good pal @paddywallace12 on a great career. Top player, better lad. Wicked left step, knew it was coming but…” last week’s news

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