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Athlete rugby union player Jonny Wilkinson picture(s) (pic) and photo gallery.
Birth name: Jonathan Peter Wilkinson.
Born: May 25, 1979 in Frimley, Surrey, UK.
Height: 1.77.
Weight: 88.
Nickname: Wilko.

Jonny Wilkinson biography (bio):
Jonathan Peter "Jonny" Wilkinson is an English rugby union player and member of the England rugby union team. From 2001-2003, before and during the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Wilkinson rose to fame for being one of the worlds best rugby players. He was an integral member of the 2003 Rugby World Cup winning England squad, scoring the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time against Australia. He plays his club rugby in the Guinness Premiership for Newcastle Falcons. Wilkinson has also toured twice with the British and Irish Lions, in 2001 and 2005, scoring 44 Test points in the 5 Lions test matches he has started.
Due to an unhappy litany of injuries - variously, of the knee ligaments, arm, shoulder and kidney - he did not appear again for England after the World Cup until 1,169 days later in their opening game of the 2007 Six Nations Championship against Scotland on February 3, 2007. In his comeback England match, Wilkinson scored 27 points in the game (a record in the Calcutta Cup) and was awarded Man of the Match. The following week against Italy, he became the highest point-scorer in the history of the Five/Six Nations Championship.
Jonny grew up in Hampshire and developed a love of rugby early in life, participating in the sport from the age of just four years old, playing for Farnham RFC. His father, Phil, had played rugby union and so did Wilkinson, along with his brother Mark. He started his education at Pierrepont in Frensham, but it was at Lord Wandsworth College that he established his reputation. He played along side England team mate Peter Richards to take Lord Wandsworth to the semi-final of the Daily Mail national schools competition in 1996. At school, Wilkinson's sporting interests extended to cricket and tennis, as well as rugby. He was a talented opening bowler and batsman for the school and played for Hampshire schools until rugby demanded much of his summer time as well. He was Captain of Lord Wandsworth 1st XI in 1997.
Jonny's first recognition at national level came when he was 16, when he was selected for the England under-16 representative team. He made a name for himself when he was part of the English under-18s schools tour of Australia in 1997. On this tour he produced 94 points in only five games.
Wilkinson was talent scouted by his school rugby coach, the Falcons coach Steve Bates. Upon leaving school in the summer of 1997, he deferred his studies at Durham University for a year to try full-time rugby union. His first season was such a success that his studies still remain on-hold ten years later.

1998-2000:
Wilkinson started his career at Newcastle Falcons as an inside centre; competing for a place with international veterans such as Inga Tuigamala, and British Lion Alan Tait. He became a firm fixture in a side that went on to win the 1997/8 Premiership title. By March of 1998 he was in the full England Test squad. Wilkinson began his international career as an unused replacement against Scotland, before making his debut from the bench against Ireland at Twickenham on April 4 of 1998; he was aged only 18.
He then participated in Englands Tour of Hell in June 1998 that saw them suffer heavy defeats by both New Zealand and Australia, who defeated them 76-0. Wilkinson returned to domestic duties by taking over from Rob Andrew, who was made Falcons head coach (later Director of Rugby), as both their fly-half and goal kicker. Wilkinson became a firm fixture in the England team, and started in all the matches of the 1999 Five Nations. He also played for the Falcons in their 1999 Tetleys Bitter Cup final defeat to the London Wasps.
Wilkinson played for England in matches against Australia, the United States and Canada as the 1999 World Cup approached. He made his World Cup debut against Italy, scoring one try, converting another 6 and landing 5 penalty goals to rack up 32 individual points in the 67-7 win. After playing another pool game against the All Blacks, which England lost 30-16, he was rested against Tonga, a match won by England 101-10. Following the quarter-final playoff win against Fiji, Wilkinson was relegated to the bench by head coach Clive Woodward for the quarter-final against South Africa. England lost the match by 44-21 and exited the tournament. Woodward refused to expand on his selection choice at the time, and following the match some commentators blamed the head coach's lack of consistency in team selection as harming England's World Cup bid.
The following year Wilkinson played in all five of England's Six Nations matches. England won the championship, however they missed a grand slam after losing their final match against Scotland. Wilkinson then toured South Africa with England in June of 2000, kicking all of the points in their 27-22 win in Bloemfontein. He was then capped another three times for England during the end of year internationals.

2001-2002:
The following year began with England's title defence of the Six Nations title. After the opening win over Wales, Wilkinson set an individual Six Nations points scoring record with 35 points against Italy at Twickenham on February 17, to overtake the record of his Newcastle Falcons mentor, Rob Andrew. England won all their subsequent matches during the tournament, with the exception of the Irish match, which was postponed until October.
More success followed for Wilkinson after the Six Nations, as the Falcons won the Powergen Cup: a late Newcastle try saw them defeat Harlequin F.C. by three points, by 30-27. Wilkinson was the first choice fly-half and goal kicker for the 2001 British Lions tour to Australia in July. The Lions won the first test over Australia by 29-13 in Brisbane, in which Wilkinson scored 9 points through his kicking.
The second test, on July 7th, saw the Lions lose 35-14 at the Telstra Dome. Wilkinson was blamed by many for throwing a long pass inside his 22 that was intercepted by Joe Roff which was seen as the turning point in the match. During the match, Wilkinson injured his leg and was stretchered off the pitch. The injury was thought to be particularly serious, but he made a full recovery before the Third and final test on July 14th. Wilkinsons try at the start of the second half ensured that, along with his kicking scores, he equalled the Lions' best individual scoring total in a Test, with 18 points.
The incomplete 2001 Six Nations Championship was concluded in October, with England playing Ireland. England lost 20-14 at Landsdowne Road. Both Ireland and England had won four out of the five Six Nations fixtures, but Englands superior points difference ensured they clinched the title although, for the second year running, not the Grand Slam.
In a match against Australia for the Cook Cup in November, Wilkinson scored all of England's points in their 21-15 victory at Twickenham. After being rested as an unused bench replacement in the subsequent match against Romania, he then played a large role in a win over the Springboks, in which he kicked seven penalty goals in the 29-9 victory.
Going for a third Six Nations title in a row, England were off to a good start to their 2002 Six Nations Championship with wins over Scotland and Ireland, before going down to France in Paris. England won their remaining fixtures against Wales and Italy but France went on to complete a grand slam. The 2001-02 Heineken Cup was not a successful story for the Falcons, as they won only one match, and finished at the bottom of their pool.
In November 2002, the Northern Hemisphere's rugby season saw the Autumn tests sponsored by Investec. In the series England faced Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in subsequent weekends.
Wilkinson played a large role in England's match against the All Blacks. He scored a Try (although he commented later that the chip he kicked over the New Zealand defence was in fact meant for Jason Robinson to receive), kicked two successful conversions and three penalty goals, as well as a Drop goal. England then faced the then Tri Nations Series champions Australia, who came to Twickenham on the back of a loss to Ireland. Two tries by winger Ben Cohen and Wilkinson's kicking accuracy saw England come back from a 19-31 deficit to defeat Australia by a single point in a 32-31 victory. England went into the last test against South Africa with the possibility of beating the Big Three rugby nations of the Southern Hemisphere on subsequent weekends.
England defeated the Springboks by 53-3, putting a record 50 more points on the former World Champions. The very physical match saw Wilkinson leave the pitch with a dislocated left shoulder. Springbok Jannes Labuschagne was sent off early in the match for a late tackle on
Wilkinson. The England camp believed that Wilkinson was targeted by South Africa during the game. Matt Dawson later wrote in his autobiography, Nine Lives, that he felt South Africa came to Twickenham with the aim of injuring the half-backs (Wilkinson and Dawson) and Jason Robinson.

2003:
The opening match of the 2003 Six Nations Championship saw France, the reigning champions and grand slam winners, play England. Both teams were high in confidence following successes in their end of year tests against nations from the Southern hemisphere. Many saw this game the tournament decider and England won the match 25-17. Now considered favourites to win the tournament, as well as possibly a grand slam, England defeated Wales, Italy and Scotland. For the first time in his England career, Wilkinson was chosen as the captain of the squad for the first time against Italy, as Martin Johnson was unavailable due to the birth of his first child.
The final match was against Ireland at Lansdowne Road and would determine the tournament, and Grand Slam, winner of 2003. By putting more than 40 points on their opponents, winning 42-6, England became the 2003 champions and serious contenders for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Australia. Wilkinson was named Man of the Match, displaying his trademark accurate kicking and strong defensive skills.
After the Six Nations, England commenced a tour to the Southern Hemishere, to play New Zealand and Australia in June. On June 14th and in difficult weather conditions, Wilkinson scored all 15 points as England beat New Zealand 15-13 in Wellington. He was also a major force in their 25-14 win over Australia a week later. With England's 45-14 win over France in September, in which Wilkinson scored 18 points, England were now considered one of the favourites at the World Cup, set to start in October.
England's first match at the 2003 World Cup was at Subiaco Oval in Perth, where they defeated Georgia 84-6, with Wilkinson scoring 16 points from his goal kicking. He played a major role in the pool match against the Springboks, in which he scored 20 of Englands 25 points, in the victory which held their opponents to just 6. The subsequent match against Samoa in Melbourne was surprisingly close for the number one ranked rugby nation against a supposed minnow of international competition, but England pulled off a 35-22 win. Wilkinson was rested for England's final win against Uruguay, 111-13. England finished at the top of pool D, four points ahead of South Africa.
England moved into the quarter finals, where they met Wales at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Wilkinson scored 23 points in the match, which England won 28-17 to proceed to the semi-finals. England met France, whom they had beaten earlier that year on two occasions. England won 24-7, with Wilkinson scoring all of Englands points through his kicking. Wilkinson made history in the final against Australia, when he kicked a drop goal in extra time, 26 seconds from the end of the match, to see England win 20-17. The last time Australia had lost a World Cup match was 8 years earlier in the 1995 quarter-finals, when Wilkinson's mentor Andrew scored a drop goal at the stroke of full time to win the game for England. After the match, Wilkinson expressed his relief at converting the winning drop goal, as it was his first success in four attempts during the match. The win gave England its first ever World Cup, and broke the southern hemisphere's dominance of the tournament in the process.
However, the Australian media did not take the loss well with one newspaper bluntly stating "Good to see the back of you, Jonny" as the caption of a photo of Wilkinson leaving the pitch. Other publications in the southern hemisphere, such as those in New Zealand and South Africa, expressed similar discontent, particularly at England's style of pack oriented, winning ugly style of play. He was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and 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 (he was listed prior to England's World Cup victory), and an OBE which he was awarded in 2004. Wilkinson's career had reached its pinacle and it was widely recognised by pundits and fans alike that he was arguably the best player in world rugby, and certainly the best back.

2004-2005:
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 and the disastrous 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 a haematoma in his upper right arm, the captaincy being taken over by Jason Robinson and then Martin Corry. 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 almost 18 months, he had played a total of only 937.5 minutes of competitive rugby union, but was nonetheless given a chance to prove his fitness for the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand. Initially Wilkinson was left out of the 44-strong squad which was announced by Clive Woodward on April 11th 2005. However, on 8 May Woodward announced he had added the fly-half to the squad after Wilkinson had proved he was injury-free and fit. Wilkinson made his first international appearance since the 2003 World Cup final on 23 May at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as the Lions played Argentina. Wilkinson, along with the rest of the team, played poorly, but kicked a conversion and six penalties; he salvaged a 25-25 draw with the last kick of the game.
He made his first full international appearance since the 2003 World Cup in the Lions' first Test against New Zealand, starting at inside centre instead of his normal fly-half position. Wilkinson scored the Lions' only points in their comprehensive 21-3 defeat. In the second Test, another heavy loss, he started in his normal role of number 10, but suffered a stinger injury, which ruled him out of the Third Test. Wilkinson was replaced by Stephen Jones in the final test.
Wilkinson had to forgo participation in the Falcons' August pre-season games in Japan due to appendicitis. Then, after having appeared in five successive matches for Newcastle, the injury litany continued in late November with surgery for a sportsman's hernia, which he himself associated with the strain of his heavy training sessions, often involving two (or more) hour kicking-sessions.

2006-present:
After over a two month absence, Wilkinson was named on the bench for the premiership game against London Irish on February 12, 2006, but did not make an appearance. Wilkinson pulled out of training the following Tuesday and was reported to be suffering "an acute injury to his right adductor". In March, he told Rugby World Magazine that he was confident his best rugby was still ahead of him, despite critics and pundits asking whether Wilkinson will ever regain the form and confidence he possessed before his string of injury setbacks.
Wilkinson was selected on the bench for the match against Guinness Premiership leaders Sale Sharks at Kingston Park on Sunday, April 16 and he played all of the second half. He then played the last 50 minutes in the European Challenge Cup semi-final defeat against London Irish on April 23, but ended the match limping.
Rob Andrew, then Director of Rugby at Falcons (Andrew has since been appointed Director of Elite Rugby for the English Rugby Football Union), said subsequently that there was no chance of Wilkinson going on England's summer tour and that he would be taking the summer off. Despite missing two conversions, he demonstrated his playmaker skills in the game against Worcester on April 30th, in which he played the second half in its entirety. Afterwards, Andrew reiterated that Wilkinson should not tour during the summer in order to prolong his recovery period. Wilkinson started as captain in the Falcons last Premiership game of the season on Saturday, May 6, 2006, converting six of his team's 8 tries in their 54-19 victory over Leeds Tykes.
Rob Andrew stated in July, pre-season to the 2006-07 Guinness Premiership, that Wilkinson would be ready to challenge for an England position come the November internationals. Captaincy of the Falcons was also given to former Wallabies fullback Matthew Burke, a move that Andrew believed would allow Wilkinson to concentrate more on his game and a full return to rugby. In early August head coach of England, Andy Robinson announced the Elite Player Squad for the 2006/07 season, in which Wilkinson was included.
During the second game of the 2006-07 Guinness Premiership season against Worcester Warriors on Friday, September 8, Wilkinson was helped from the pitch after 47 minutes with a knee injury incurred when one of his team members fell on him after he was tackled. A scan confirmed that he had torn the medial ligament of his right knee. He returned to play a full 80 minutes in the 26-21 win against premiership leaders Bristol on Friday, November 3, kicking a conversion, a drop-goal and 2 penalties. It was reported on November 9 that Jonny suffered a lacerated kidney during the match. He returned from this injury in the Premiership game against Leicester Tigers on January 27, 2007, coming off the bench after 37 minutes.
On January 29, 2007, Wilkinson was selected at Fly-half in the starting line up for England in their 2007 Six Nations opener against Scotland. England comprehensively beat Scotland 42-20 to regain the Calcutta Cup, Jonny making an impressive return scoring 27 points with five penalties, two conversions, a (controversial) try and a drop goal. This broke the previous Calcutta Cup individual record of 24, set by Rob Andrew. Jonny was awarded the RBS Man of the Match as adjudicated by BBC commentator, Brian Moore. In the following match against Italy at Twickenham, Wilkinson scored 15 points to become the highest individual point scorer in the history of the Five or Six Nations with 421 points. Despite another injury scare just before the match against Ireland on February 26 at Croke Park, Jonny started, scoring 8 points in the game which England lost 43-13. Jonny did not play in the two remaining 6 Nations games against France and Wales due to the effects of a cramp that forced him off in the Premiership 38-12 defeat to London Irish on March 3. On April 13, he suffered a rib injury that forced him off during his fourth consecutive appearance for Newcastle in their 19-12 win over Gloucester Rugby.
Despite missing the season's last Premiership game against Bath Rugby, Jonny made the England squad for the summer tour and scored 5 points in the first test's record 58-10 loss to South Africa. He scored 17 points in the second test, which England lost 55-22. In the first of three warm up tests before the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, Jonny had an impressive game, scoring 17 points (7 conversions and a penalty) in the 62-5 demolition of Wales.

Media:
Jonny sporadically writes a column for the Times, often during periods of high media focus on rugby, such as Six Nations tournaments and Rugby World Cups. He has also written three books thus far, with the help of ghostwriter Neil Squires which have been published by Headline. The first, "Lions and Falcons: My Diary of a Remarkable Year", was released in 2001, and followed a turbulent rugby year for him. The diary documented the England rugby player's strike, the Newcastle Falcons winning the Powergen Cup, the 2001 Six Nations Championship and the British and Irish Lions tour at the end of the year. His second, "My World", was released after England's Rugby World Cup win, in early 2004, and was largely picture-based, with less writing than in his previous publication. The writing that it did contain was focussed on his experience of the World Cup, and how his life had altered following the winning drop goal. Finally, in 2005, "How To Play Rugby My Way", which accompanied the BBC series "Jonny's Hotshots", was released. It was largely a coaching/instruction manual, with tips and techniques for rugby playing. It also included small insights to Jonny's family life and the relationships which have allowed his rugby playing to flourish. b

Personal life:
Jonny currently lives in rural Northumberland with his brother Mark (known as "Sparks") who is 18 months older than he is. The first house that Jonny and Mark bought in Northumberland is now inhabited by their parents, Phil and Phillipa.
The Newcastle Falcons' fitness trainer Steve Black has become particularly influential on Jonny's rugby career. Jonny has previously stated that he respects Black (Blackie) a great deal, and that Blackie taught him a lot about "values and ethics".
Jonny cites Richard Hill and Mike Catt to be his closest friends in the England rugby set-up. In 2001, he also acknowledged his friendships with former hooker Phil Greening and winger Dan Luger to be similarly strong friendships.
In his life after rugby, Jonny has stated that he wishes to get more involved in coaching, especially children and at "an elite level".
Jonny previously dated the model and actress Di Stewart. She achieved recognition as a Sky Sports News presenter. He is currently dating Shelley Jenkins, with whom he was pictured on lilos in the sea by his family's holiday home in Majorca, at the 2006 Wimbledon men's final and after the 2007 Six Nations match against Scotland on February 3rd, 2007. It was reported that Wilkinson met Jenkins in Spain.
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