|Wilkinson ruins someone else's day. Again.|
One piece of news has arguably outshone all others in an eventful week for rugby – the news that England legend, Jonny Wilkinson, will be hanging up his boots. Tributes have been pouring in from all parts of the world from former teammates, coaches and opponents alike. But there is a darker side to Jonny Wilkinson. Yes, in a shocking expose, Rucked Over will now demonstrate why 'Wilko' is one of the most despicable players to have ever laced his boots on a rugby field…
Wilkinson built up a reputation for being one of the most modest men in professional sport, but we can reveal that this was all just a smokescreen for one of the most out-of-control egos in the game. You need proof? Well, aside from the rumours that he insisted on travelling separately from the England team in a white Lamborghini and his refusal to use toilet paper unless it was made from silk*, take a look at this try against the All Blacks in 2002. Now, an England fly half, when playing against the Southern Hemisphere giants, is allowed to do two things only – kick penalties, and miss tackles against their superior counterparts. On a very rare occasion, a drop goal will be permitted. But Jonny was egotistical enough to assume the rules didn't apply to him. With breathtaking arrogance, Wilkinson scored a try – a wonderful solo effort – against the best side in the world. The All Blacks were rightly incensed by Jonny's 'going off script' and still hold a grudge to this day.
Another perception which ought to be quashed is the view that Jonny is an honest man who conducts himself with the utmost integrity. He is not. As the video below will prove, he is a man whose deception knows no limits – he is a liar. When France played England in 2000, Les Bleus looked across the English backline and saw little Jonny – 5 foot 10, and not quite 13 stone, the 20 year old looked like he spent his spare time playing Mario Kart and listening to Nirvana, with puberty a foreign concept. Right then, that's the target at which to launch one of the most powerful men on the pitch, Emile Ntamack, thought the French. The veteran winger had 5 inches and almost 2 stone on Jonny as he took a short ball into the 10 channel, but Wilkinson shamelessly creamed the bigger man with one of the most iconic hits of the decade. If you're going to destroy someone in a tackle, Jonny, at least have the decency to look like Sebastian Chabal, rather than misleading – nay, deceiving – everyone with your choirboy appearance.
In close conjunction with the popular honesty myth described above, Wilkinson has often been a man who plays hard – but fair. Once again, this is simply not the case. See, for example, the video below, taken from England v Scotland in 2007 after the fly half's 4-year injury-enforced absence from the national side. After smugly playing a blinder instead of returning with an appropriate amount of trepidation (another example of arrogance), Wilkinson then had the nerve to round off his performance with a try in the corner. Except it wasn't a try. His leg was in touch, but it went unnoticed by the TMO, and Jonny had his score. I don't know how Jonny tricked the video referee, but we can all assume that he managed it somehow in order to cheat his way into sealing the perfect comeback.
This doesn't refer to something you may find in Wetherspoon's toilet, but rather the sinister side of England's iconic fly-half. Yes, the golden boy of Clive Woodward's era was in fact a thug who played on the wrong side of the law. Just take a look at this dastardly piece of defence on the innocent Justin Bishop (second tackle in the video). Is that not a heinous spear tackle by today's standards?? Beyond the horizontal and what not? Should have been red carded, Jonny. Filthy.
Over the years, several journalists and commentators have built relatively successful careers by falling back on poorly researched and generic articles when the news dries up, and one staple for those articles has been the assertion that Wilkinson is a defensive fly half with no flair or attacking instinct. These journalists have families; they have mouths to feed. Imagine their horror, then, when Jonny pulls out the below when playing for Toulon. Did he think of the poor journalists whose reputations he would be throwing into jeopardy? Did he heck. Selfish.
Jonny RottenAbove all, though, old JW was just plain mean. Imagine if you arrived at Twickenham as a resounding underdog and were on the end of a 50 point humping, as Italy were in 2011. Approaching the end of the game, you're given a chance to score a consolation try for your efforts. As you run for the right hand corner, with the Twickenham crowd warmly applauding your fortitude, who comes into view but Jonny – a substitute in this game – who proceeds to throw every fibre of his being into your rib cage to slam you into touch in the 78th minute of the game. It's just plain cruel. Go to 1:52 in the below to see it for yourself.
And there you have it. Case closed.
I hope that you realise that the above is done firmly with tongue in cheek, and is actually just my slightly-odd way of paying tribute to one of the best fly halves of all time. Take them as a selection of my favourite Jonny-moments-that-aren't-that-drop-goal moments. All that is left is to tip the cap and pay homage to one of the best professionals and nicest blokes to have played the game - I wonder if he's still got one more masterclass in him this weekend.
Oh, go on then. Let's watch the drop goal again.