Posted by Sonja in Oct 16,2014 with No Comments
Jonny Wilkinson may have said on a number of occasions he would never work in TV after retiring, but this weekend he makes his debut for Sky Sports.
Wilkinson has been training every day since he retired and still practises kicking, as well as helping out with coaching at Toulon four of five days a month. But, by his own admission, he is now training for the sake of training, not with any end goal.
In an interview in the Times it is revealed that when Toulon suffered a string of injuries last month Mourad Boudjellal, the owner, asked him seriously if he would consider making a comeback. While he
was probably physically capable, it was not going to happen. In training he still takes an active part and slots in when the team is a player short. But it ends there.
“You find yourself falling right into where you were,” he told the newspaper. “It’s brilliant. I love it. [But] at the end of my career it wasn’t that my body gave out, it was that mentally I’d had enough of living like that.
“I probably could have played on longer. But I’d had enough of putting myself through that. As soon as that touches, my body shuts down.”
His comments put paid to some of the far-fetched suggestions over the summer that he was being lined up for a return in Australia. In fact, he revealed he had almost quit at the end of the 2013-14 season but it was Toulon’s failure to secure the European and domestic double – they lost in the Top 14 final – that made him carry on.
“I thought, ‘You can do this. There’s no point in going out now. You’ll regret it. You’re in an amazing team, make the most of it, go for it next year.’ Then, suddenly, I had committed to another year and it was almost like, ‘If we don’t go out and do the double, all I can do is fail.’ The pressure of doing that swamped the joy of it.”
Would he have stayed on had Toulon come up short again? “I know I’d have been even more keen to run away from the rugby. Now I see there are a lot of things I love about the game that I lost. Now I don’t want to escape, which is what I was doing.”
He misses the game, to his surprise. “I thought I’d want to draw a line under it and let it go. Yet now the do-or-die pressure is off, he has fallen in love with it again. That has made me want to do something with it.”
He will take up a role in the commentary box – “I’ve still got all the notes written before each game, all the things you are thinking about. You either do something with it, or you draw a line under it and chuck it away” – but will not be another former player dissecting the modern ones. “I am not necessarily interested in giving my opinion of who is great and who is rubbish. If you want someone to come in and call black and white, you’re better off getting someone who has maybe never played the game.”Share on Facebook