Wilkinson revels in Heineken Cup triumph
Tom Hamilton at the Millennium Stadium
May 24, 2014
Jonny Wilkinson drops a goal in the first-half © PA Photos
Jonny Wilkinson admitted Toulon's Heineken Cup triumph was "amazing" but he typically paid tribute to the team rather than revel in his own individual performance.
Wilkinson put in a flawless kicking display to help Toulon to a 23-6 win over Saracens with Matt Giteau and Juan Smith scoring their two tries. Wilkinson will play in next week's Top 14 final against Castres and will then retire but he said he could not have asked for more from his Toulon team following their win over Saracens on Saturday.
"I had no idea how today was going to go, apart from it being tough as we were up against a very good team," Wilkinson said. "In terms of the result, I could not have asked for any more from the team, the guys were together and the individual contributions made across the board were phenomenal. It's only when you stand and watch them, as I did in the final two minutes when I was off the field, that you appreciate it.
"It's amazing. For me it was one hell of a day but for the team it was a great reward for a long journey and I hope we can keep that going for one more week."
Wilkinson will retire after next weekend's match against Castres and before becoming part of the Toulon backroom staff, he will take a small break from the game.
"I think I still look enviously at the other guys who have years ahead of them. I look at guys like Juan [Fernandez Lobbe] who has years left and he's had his injuries too but the way he has attacked his career, he's got more and more energy. I look at these guys enviously. I want to be doing what they're doing but I know my time is not now but I'm not one for looking back.
"I'm more eager to follow where these guys go and I'm really pleased to have been a part of what's happened so far and that continues one more week. After that, I don't know, it will be a bit of a shock but we'll get over it. I'll have a bit of a break and I'll have to accept that it's no longer my job to run out on to the field but it's my job to help make those guys better."
For Toulon, they now have their second Heineken Cup title in as many years and become the third team to achieve that. Wilkinson saluted that achievement but also highlighted just how hard it will be to win more silverware next term.
"At the end of the day, that journey that's taken us to here from the beginning of the season has not been a straightforward, beautiful curve that gets better day by day. We've had tough times where it hasn't been perfect and hasn't gone well.
"But we've had to dig in and when you get to quarter-finals and semi-finals there is a lot of luck in the draw and we got a home quarter-final and we came up with some good performances there. But there's a lot there - you look at Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Saracens, Toulouse and Clermont, all these teams who could be up there so it's a competitive area.
"If you can be like a Munster or a Leinster and keep finding yourself there or thereabouts in the semi-finals or finals then that's all you can ask for. It's such a privilege to have won it twice in a row, it doesn't happen much."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
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