Jonny Wilkinson surprises brain tumour sufferer Stu Ridley with a home visit

Posted by Sonja in Jun 14,2015 with No Comments

Former rugby star Jonny Wilkinson sprung a surprise visit on brain tumour battler Stu Ridley…and even whizzed around the garden on his mobility scooter.

The ex-England and Falcons ace brought a smile to Stu’s face when he turned up at the family farm in Shitlington, near Hexham, Northumberland.

And as they cracked jokes and enjoyed the sunshine on Friday, Stu asked Jonny and his wife Shelley if they would like a shot on his mobility scooter – and the pair couldn’t resist.

Stu’s family says it gave him the boost he needed as he continues to fight his inoperable brain tumour.

Brother Stephen, 29, said: “Jonny is a true gentleman, so genuine and sincere. He came out to see Stu with his wife and spent a couple of hours with us.

“We spent sometime inside then Stu wanted to go outside and we laughed and chatted.

“Stu loved it, he met his hero and Jonny gave his time. Stu thanked him for coming, it was a really good day.

“Jonny is a very honest guy and we can’t thank him enough. Stu isn’t feeling too well at the minute but he gave him a real boost.”

The England former fly-half first gave his support to Stu when the young farmer and rugby player was diagnosed earlier this year when he sent him a message via Twitter saying: “Heard about your situation mate.

“I know you will beat this. Soon you’ll be back on the field doing what you do best. 100% with you!!”

And through mutual friends in the rugby world Jonny managed to get Melvin, Stu’s dad’s telephone number to ask if he could visit the brave 25-year-old, who played rugby for Tynedale.

Stu, who is well known as a member of Bellingham Young Farmers and is a regular at the district’s agricultural shows, was told by doctors he had six months to live after being diagnosed with the tumour. He was given the devastating news on Friday, February 13, but vowed to live life to the full.

Famous names in rugby, other sports and even the pop world have shown their support for Stu and his family.

World record holder Colin Jackson was spotted holding aloft a “Stay Strong Stu” T-shirt.

Mum Celia, 54, said: “Jonny and his wife came and they made Stu’s day. When they walked into the room Stu’s face lit up and he gave a smile that he hasn’t had for a while.

“Jonny is his idol and Stu was thrilled. He was slightly star struck and was stuck for words but he enjoyed every minute of it.

“Jonny is such a nice man, he was here for a couple of hours and Stu loved every minute of it.”

Source:: Chronicle

To watch the video of Jonny and Stu clink the above link

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Jonny Wilkinson awarded CBE in Queen’s birthday honours

Posted by Sonja in Jun 13,2015 with No Comments

Not even retirement stopped Jonny Wilkinson driving French giants Toulon to European rugby history, and now his first year after hanging up his boots also includes the award of a CBE.

England’s World Cup-winning hero brought the curtain down on a glittering career in 2014 by masterminding Toulon’s second-straight Heineken Cup win.

The 36-year-old then spent this season with a part-time skills coaching role at the Cote d’Azur club, inspiring the Stade Mayol men to the inaugural Champions Cup crown, an unprecedented third European title in a row.

Wilkinson suffered a 1,169-day injury-enforced Test absence after dropping England to World Cup glory in 2003, heightening the sweetness of his stellar Indian summer on the French Riviera.

Wilkinson’s 2003 World Cup team-mate Lewis Moody hailed the former Newcastle star’s CBE, awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, as yet more indication of the enormity of his late-career achievements with Toulon.

“I know my first club Leicester were desperate to sign him at times during his playing career,” Moody told Press Association Sport of Wilkinson, who joined Toulon in 2009 after 12 years with Newcastle.

“For the absolutely amazing talent he was and the work ethic he had, at international level he was just scintillating to watch.

“At club level he was still as good but never got to perform on the biggest stages with Newcastle.

“So it was really nice for me as a player to see him finally get the opportunity to play regularly in those biggest tournaments and succeed.”

Wilkinson was the subject of groundless rumours he would receive a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List, leading to a twitter mix-up that even seemed to dupe the star himself.

Any hangover from that mild embarrassment has not dulled the royal regard for England’s most famous rugby player of all time and a playmaker who redefined the duties of the modern fly-half.

Wilkinson abandoned intentions to study at Durham University in favour of professional rugby with Newcastle Falcons in 1997, making his England debut as an 18-year-old in April 1998.

His 91-cap England career spanned 13 years, four World Cups and six caps for the British and Irish Lions, but the crowning glory will forever remain the 2003 World Cup victory.

Wilkinson dropped the extra-time goal to see off Australia 20-17 in Sydney, a moment long since etched into a nation’s consciousness.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year award duly followed, and so too the MBE, later elevated to OBE in 2004.

Wilkinson later led England to the final of the 2007 World Cup, only for Brian Ashton’s men to fall short against South Africa in Paris.

His retirement from Test rugby in December 2011 then precipitated a stunning resurgence with French giants Toulon.

Surrounded by many of the world’s top names and talents, Wilkinson thrived, helping Toulon to the second-tier European Challenge Cup title in 2012.

Toulon lost the French Top 14 final that year and again in 2013, but Wilkinson drove the squad back in ever-more fierce fashion.

That 2013 league defeat was eased by the first of those three consecutive European titles that season – and in 2014 Wilkinson bowed out of rugby altogether by spearheading Toulon’s Heineken Cup and Top 14 double.

“Jonny yearns for success: because he wants to be the best he can be, but also because he doesn’t want to let his team-mates down,” said former Leicester and Bath flanker Moody.

“Toulon invested a great deal in him, but he repaid that in abundance.

“He drove them to two European titles, and then laid the foundations for a third.

“It must have been a wonderful way to go out and end your rugby career in that manner.

“And that success was fitting for him really, because he’d given so much to the game.

“I think the change was as important as anything else in allowing him to finish his career in style.

“Jonny loves new challenges, whether that’s learning to play the guitar or becoming fluent in French, he throws himself into anything until he’s mastered it.”

Wilkinson’s exploits in Toulon will always pale in significance next to that World Cup triumph in the eyes of the English, with Moody still extolling the fly-half’s virtues 12 years on.

“It was the absolute pinnacle of your rugby career, the euphoria that came from winning something you knew how hard it had been to achieve,” said Moody of the 2003 World Cup win.

“For Jonny it was a pivotal and iconic moment, dropping that goal off his weaker foot.

“For all of us in that squad, there’s a special bond.

“Jonny was a kindred spirit on the field, someone you knew would fight toe-to-toe.

“There was a group of players you would want alongside you in any situation, and Jonny was always in that bracket.”


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Prince Harry joins Jonny Wilkinson to launch Rugby World Cup trophy tour with 100 days to go until tournament kicks off

Posted by Sonja in Jun 10,2015 with No Comments

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Prince Harry has launched the Rugby World Cup trophy tour across the UK and Ireland, marking 100 days to the start of the global event.

England Rugby World Cup heroes Jonny Wilkinson and Will Greenwood joined the prince at Twickenham Stadium – the home of English rugby – to launch the Webb Ellis Cup on its journey.

The Webb Ellis trophy tour will start in Scotland on June 11 before being paraded across the rest of Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

The World Cup will be staged in England and Cardiff in September and October, and thousands are expected to fill the stadiums while billions watch the spectacle on television.

Harry is honorary president of England Rugby 2015, the organising committee staging the tournament.

The prince, who gave a short speech during the event, is a passionate sports player and keen rugby fan who is associated with a number of rugby organisations.

Harry said: ‘In 100 days time England and Cardiff will play host to an incredible festival of rugby.

‘As we have shown with the Olympic, Commonwealth & Invictus Games we are a nation of great hosts. A nation that seizes the moment. I have no doubt the British public will make every nation feel at home and provide the best possible welcome.’

He is vice patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and patron of the RFU’s Injured Players Foundation.

Harry is also the patron of England Rugby’s All Schools Programme, which aims to drive up the number of children playing the sport in state schools.

Wilkinson, speaking on Good Morning Britain, has revealed how he prepared for matches at the Rugby World Cup back in 2003: ‘I used to read a fair bit beforehand.

‘We always had a CD that played on the bus on the way in that always had more or less the same songs on it. It would hit the same song as we arrived [at the stadium.]‘

‘They always finished on Eminem however, on the day of the final, the CD skipped a couple of times and we ended up going into the stadium to ‘Rock the Casbah!’

Reflecting on his winning kick in extra time, Wilkinson added: ‘It is funny how such a pressured moment could actually go right to the wire and that’s why it sticks in people’s memories because it was an event that just kept on going.’

Wilkinson believes England would have a better chance of winning the World Cup if Stuart Lancaster called on the services of overseas duo Steffon Armitage and Nick Abendanon, however he understands the ruling.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: ‘It’s about setting your guidelines out and sticking to them. A lot has been made of the stance on Steffon Armitage.

‘I played with Steffon for a good few years and of course he’s a phenomenal player, but the situation works both ways’.

The first match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between England and Fiji takes place at Twickenham on September 18.

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Source: Daily Mail

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Jonny Wilkinson joins Camps for an ascent of Mt Toubkal

Posted by Sonja in Jun 09,2015 with No Comments

It was tough day at the office but someone had to do it.

Jonny Wilkinson has been busy raising funds for his Foundation and Camps were delighted to contribute a climb to the auction at his London testimonial. Thanks to a generous donor, I have just returned from a fantastic week in Morocco with a great group of people.

It’s a tall order to fly into Moroccan heat, grab a night and a bite in a Marrakech Riad and then head straight out into the Atlas for a 2-day expedition. We walked for 21 hours out of a total of 32 on the mountain, in temperatures ranging from 36 degrees on the way up to a bracing zero on the summit.

At an altitude of 4,167 metres, Jbel Toubkal is the highest mountain in the Atlas Mountains and North Africa. We kicked off the climb at 1,700 metres and with the help of a few mules pushed out an impressive pace to the refuge on night one, and subsequently up to the summit through the early hours of the following morning.

Always a feeling of elation at the summit followed by the realisation that it’s only the half way point with another 8 hours trekking and a dodgy mountain breakfast to look forward to.
Huge thanks to Jonny and crew for a lot of laughs and looking forward to climbing Mt Kinabalu later this year.

Stuart Rees Jones

Founder & CEO Camps

Source: Stuart Rees Jones, CEO of Camps International

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Happy Birthday Jonny

Posted by Sonja in May 25,2015 with No Comments

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Jonny, Happy Birthday to you.

From all of us at Wilkofans we hope you have a great day xx

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Jonny Wilkinson gives a rugby union masterclass to students at a Cheshunt school

Posted by Sonja in May 13,2015 with No Comments


Sky Academy Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson treated students of Goffs School in Cheshunt to a Sky Sports Living for Sport masterclass in rugby union on Wednesday.

A selected group of 20 Year 7 students were taught passing skills by the England rugby hero after the school were lucky winners of a Sky Academy prize draw. Goffs School were entered into the draw last month following their commitment and participation in Sky Sports Living for Sport.

Sky Academy Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson said: “I was honoured to come to Goffs School today and spend time with the students here. They have benefitted massively from Sky Sports Living for Sport, using sport to develop their leadership skills which can be taken into all aspects of their life. Goffs School are worthy winners of the Sky Academy competition and I hope the students continue to use the initiative to learn the value sport can have off the field, as well as on it.”

Sky Academy launched a competition open to all UK secondary schools who submit a Sky Sports Living for Sport project before 7 June 2015. Remaining prizes will be drawn every week until 8 June and teachers who submit a Sky Sports Living for Sport project online at qualify for the weekly prize draws and also receive two free visits from a team of over 90 world-class Athlete Mentors.

Sky Sports Living for Sport is a free initiative open to all secondary schools across the UK and Ireland which uses sports stars and the skills learnt through sport to build life skills in young people. It is part of Sky Academy, a set of initiatives using the power of TV, creativity and sport to help one million young people in the UK and Ireland build practical skills and experience to unlock their potential.

The initiative has been running in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust since 2003 and this academic year alone, more than 1,500 UK secondary schools have taken part.

To get involved and sign up to Sky Sports Living for Sport, visit

Source: Sky Sports

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Posted by Sonja in Apr 25,2015 with No Comments

We’re delighted to be giving secondary school teachers the opportunity to win some amazing prizes and opportunities for their school when they plan a Sky Sports Living for Sport project, including the chance to meet Sky Academy Ambassadors Jonny Wilkinson, Thierry Henry and Jessica Ennis-Hill!

Sky Sports Living for Sport is part of Sky Academy, a set of initiatives using the power of TV, creativity and sport to help 1 million young people in the UK and Ireland build practical skills and experience to unlock their potential.

Sky Sports Living for Sport has been running in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust since 2003, using sport stars and the skills learned through sport to help young people build confidence and develop life skills, and this academic year alone over 1500 UK secondary schools have taken part.

If you’re a teacher from a school that has not previously been involved in Sky Sports Living for Sport, all you need to do is sign-up and plan a project to take place in the current academic year by going here.

Teachers who have previously planned projects with Sky Sports Living for Sport simply need to login and submit a new project plan here.

The deadline for submitting projects is Sunday 7 June 2015 but make sure you do yours as soon as possible in order to gain entry into our weekly draws straightaway, offering your project group the chance to win one of the below money-can’t-buy prizes:

Week One Prize One (draw on Friday 1 May)

1 x school will win a Masterclass with Sky Academy Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson at their school on 13 May 2015*

Week One Prize Two (draw on 1 May)

1 x school will win a Masterclass with Sky Academy Ambassador Thierry Henry in London on a date in May, plus an Arsenal shirt signed by Thierry Henry and all travel and accommodation

Week One Prize Three (draw on Friday 1 May)

1 x school will win a trip to Sky for a Sky Studios and Sky Academy experience on 1 July 2015, including a Masterclass with Jonny Wilkinson and all travel and accommodation

Week Two Prize (draw on Friday 8 May)

1 x school will win a trip to see Game Changers filmed live at Sky Studios on 13 June 2015, including all travel and accommodation

Week Three Prize (draw on Friday 15 May)

1 x school will win a trip to see Game Changers filmed live at Sky Studios on 20 June 2015, including all travel and accommodation

Week Four Prize (draw on Friday 22 May)

1 x school will win the first Golden Ticket to the Jessica Ennis-Hill Inspiration Day in October 2015, including all travel and accommodation

Week Five Prize (draw on Friday 29 May)

1 x school will win a trip to Sky for a Sky Studios and Sky Academy experience in the 2015/16 academic year, including the chance to meet a Senior Athlete Mentor and all travel and accommodation

Week Six Prize (draw on Friday 5 June)

1 x school will win a Golden Ticket to the Jessica Ennis-Hill Inspiration Day in October 2015, , including all travel and accommodation
Sky Sports Living for Sport is a free initiative open to all secondary schools across the UK and Ireland and by simply signing-up and submitting your project plan online, not only will you be entered into our weekly prize draws, but you’ll also automatically qualify for:

FREE t-shirts for your Sky Sports Living for Sport project group
FREE Athlete Mentor Visit from one of our inspirational team of Mentors
Automatic entry into a monthly prize draw for up to £300 worth of Sky Tickets
Exclusive Sky sports Living for Sport wristbands, only available to the project group
As well as the above, if you’re a teacher who has already run a project in the 2014/15 academic year and are quick to submit a new project, you will be entered in to a separate prize draw on Friday 1 and Friday 8 May 2015. Each week, six schools will be randomly selected to win an extra Athlete Mentor visit during their new 2014/15 project – in addition to the two you already get for free!**

Don’t forget to submit your project plan by Sunday 7 June 2015 for the chance to win one of the above prizes of a lifetime.

*Winning school for Jonny Wilkinson Masterclass on 13 May 2015 must be based in London or the South East.

***Winning schools must have already run a project in the 2014/15 academic year and received two Athlete Mentor visits throughout that project.

See full Terms and Conditions.

Source Sky Sports

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Jonny Wilkinson to receive RPA hall of fame honour

Posted by Sonja in Apr 20,2015 with No Comments

The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) today announced England legend Jonny Wilkinson is to be honoured at the RPA Players’ Awards 2015, taking place on Wednesday 13th May at Battersea Evolution, London.

Wilkinson has been named as this year’s inductee to the RPA Hall of Fame, in association with KPMG. The former Newcastle Falcons and Toulon fly-half joins an illustrious list of players who have collected the award, including: Gareth Edwards, Martin Johnson, Michael Lynagh and Jason Robinson.

Best known for his heroics in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia, Wilkinson will be in attendance on the night to look back on a career in which he won a number of coveted trophies including the World Cup, Six Nations, European Cup and Top 14.

On receiving news of his award Wilkinson said: “I’m truly honoured to be joining such an illustrious line up in the RPA Hall of Fame. The RPA have been ever present in supporting players throughout my career and it is great to be returning to London to celebrate what will be the biggest year in English rugby.”

RPA Group CEO, Damian Hopley, said: “Jonny is a global rugby icon who has shown incredible determination, drive and commitment throughout his illustrious career. He has enjoyed success at every level and has been a superb ambassador for the game of rugby. It’s fantastic that he and his family are able to join us on the night to celebrate his outstanding achievements.”

To be part of the RPA Players’ Awards 2015 and to rub shoulders with leading rugby personalities and players please contact Sam Baring on or 020 3053 6670.

Inductees to the RPA Hall of Fame, in association with KPMG, are recognised by the RPA Players’ Board as having made an outstanding contribution to the International game.

Source: RPA.COM

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Jonny Wilkinson, Bryan Habana and Brad Thorn – legends of the game sit down to discuss Rugby World Cup

Posted by Sonja in Mar 31,2015 with No Comments

You have all won a World Cup, you have played at eight tournaments collectively and have a combined 262 caps between you – what are the biggest changes that you have seen in rugby union since the start of your careers?

Jonny Wilkinson: In 1997, it was just out of amateur and you could feel that transition coming. There was no one playing at that time who was straight out of school. Everyone had jobs and played rugby because they wanted to enjoy it. It was very different. When I went into my first changing room, I didn’t speak for three months. I spoke on the field, but in the changing room I only spoke when spoken to. There were internationals like Inga Tuigamala, Pat Lam, Dean Ryan who I daren’t speak to for three months and then I was so pleased when one of them came over and said ‘Are you OK?’. I loved that.

Brad Thorn: I call it the two-year rule: shut up for two years before you open your mouth. After a couple of years you might learn to speak. For me, in 2000 I came across to rugby and it was still early days. It has really come on as a fully firing professional league.

Bryan Habana: The game has changed a lot since even I started out in 2004, particularly with the physicality of the young players coming in. The game in South Africa has got a lot more professional from a lot earlier age. In South Africa, they are having video sessions at schoolboy level now, which is crazy. Hopefully the core ethics of rugby will never be lost. I was part of the era where a lot of amateurs were finishing up. As Jonny said, as a youngster when you went into the dressing room you didn’t speak and wanted to make sure you carried the seniors’ bags through the airport. Now the game has got so professional so quickly that some of those core values might be disappearing.
Has that professionalism and physicality made rugby a better spectacle? Speaking before that final round of Six Nations game, the New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said rugby was at risk of becoming boring.

JW: I definitely think it is better than in past days. I have looked at some of the games I have played in and been like ‘What the hell was that?’ Literally awful stuff. But there was a time when I can remember when everyone would talk about a few guys around the league, every team would be saying ‘Have you seen so and so, he’s absolutely massive’. Nowadays every team has got five or six of them. That is going to mean bigger contacts but also because of the pressure from the professionalism there is more riding on every game. Relegation and promotion is death of clubs now. There’s so much riding on it that you can only do what’s right. I played in a team [Toulon] where we would have liked to have done things differently but when it came down to it we had to do it this way to win. It wasn’t everyone’s choice but you have to do to it win. When it comes down to the big games, you walk away as winner and you will be remembered forever; you play great and lose you are not. That’s the pressure.

BT: If you look at the last round of the Six Nations, everyone knew they had to play. They were free to play rugby and you saw three high-scoring games. But to come back to what Jonny is saying, when you look at the World Cup finals, you didn’t see attractive rugby. The 2011 World Cup final, I was playing in it and I remember thinking ‘This is rubbish’. Same thing in 2003 and 2007, because it was so tight. There’s so much pressure to win. There’s not much risk factor, you just have to take the points when you can. The game is still a good spectacle when there’s an opportunity to play some footy. As Jonny was saying, when it comes down to it and you need to win a game then you play the style to get the job done.

BH: When you say ‘Is it still a spectacle?’ I don’t think we have ever heard of a rugby game that is 0-0 after 80 minutes so when you compare it to soccer then a lot more happens. The one thing that has played a big part and where the game is going backwards is that there is so much being played. You have got Top 14, you have Champions Cup, you have got Super Rugby, you have got sevens and international rugby. Where’s your spectator value? Is it in the most attractive rugby? The workload of players with so much rugby being delivered to the world needs to be handled better.

The International Rugby Players’ Association recently called for mandatory 12-14 week off-season period – would you be in support of that proposal?

BH: That would be ideal. The biggest problem that rugby has to make that happen is a global season. You are always going to get the issue of the summer and autumn tours and, with television rights being sold 4-5 years down the line, I can’t see it happening.

BT: Speaking from a league perspective, the model they have where you play Super League in the summer works well. They play some good footy here in the summer when the conditions are better. The other thing I like from league is that we play a lot of footy but it is compacted into 6-8 months and then we usually get six-eight weeks off, which would seem crazy to rugby guys who get four weeks off at the most. Having those eight weeks off means you are excited about training again as a player and then you have a two-month pre-season. That means every year in league, the product gets better. Young guys get time to rest, recover and refresh. They can do their strength and conditioning along with their skill work so that every year the package gets better and better. I agree with what Bryan is saying because when I look at rugby, with young guys coming in, they are playing 10-11 month seasons, they don’t get the right break.

JW: The key point there is the pre-season, if you don’t get that then you never get that point where the pressure is off and you can actually properly work on something. It is all mental. Physically, if you are not injured, you can pick it up in a week or two. But mentally, you need to have that break where it is just knowing there’s nothing in front of you. That’s very different from being told you can have a few days off but we need you back in. If you had two months you can imagine just dropping that whole weight. You can be someone else for two months.

BT: I agree with exactly what you are saying. The mental side of it is massive. If it is too close you can’t drop it. I don’t know about you guys, but usually it takes two weeks into the off season where I finally feel that load come off my shoulders. You don’t realise that pressure is on you, but then two weeks in you can actually feel yourself chilling out.

JW: But then two weeks later you are back in.

So how do you deal with the pressure involved in a World Cup year, particularly, in England’s case, a home World Cup?

JW: It is a funny one because we have all been fortunate enough to win World Cups. Now that you have won it, you can look back on it differently than someone who hasn’t. Six months out from a World Cup, if you start thinking about how close it is then you are no longer the same player. It is a horrible balance. The only way to truly protect yourself and control everything is to let it go. Go out there and say this is all I have got because that puts you in a better state of mind for the next game and the next game. Then by the World Cup, you are ready to go. Dealing with pressure is having that constant evidence in front of your eyes of taking on big challenges and it becoming who you are, not what you do. I face challenges. I go out there and this what you get from me – it gets better and better. It is a difficult mindset, you have to get on with it. While you are playing, it was just about the next game. After the World Cup finals in 2003 and 2007, I was more worried about the next game because I figured I had so much to prove.

BT: After the 2011 World Cup, I was on the plane to Japan one week later. 13 days later I was playing in front of an empty stadium and getting beat by an ordinary Japanese team. Within about three weeks of Japan, I had almost forgotten about the World Cup. The guys who I had invested time with, like I have with Leicester Tigers right now, I feel a responsibility towards the fans, to my teammates and the jersey which has been worn before me. You can laugh off Japan but they brought me there and I like to give more than what I am paid. Within three weeks, I was passionately all for the cause of that. That World Cup was the grand final of grand finals but like Jonny was saying you move on to the next thing. You refocus. Professional rugby players, the game is almost like the sun and the weeks revolve around it. After 22 years, I still sit in a changing room getting nervous before a game.
Is there a single component that every World Cup winning team needs to have?

BH: I look back at 2007, what really worked was first of all meticulous planning from our coaching staff. From 2004 they had a plan for where they were heading in three years. Also in 2007, the experience within the team played a vital role – guys like John Smit, Victor Matfield, Os Du Randt. Percy Montgomery was absolutely phenomenal – accurate with the boot and clear-headed decision making throughout that tournament. We had a great team work ethic, which was utterly vital. Whether you were in the starting XV or a non-playing reserve, the work ethic laid down from our leaders within the team was absolutely non-negotiable. That drive from the senior players really rubbed off on the younger guys. A guy like Frans Steyn was 19 and we had Percy hammering at him day in, day out throughout that World Cup.

BT: I would agree with that. Experience and culture are key.

JW: It is a tightness and a cohesion and a togetherness, which is built on respect and experience but it is ultimately driven and feeds on belief. All of those things that Bryan says, give you a reason to believe. You have got guys who have done it before and you hear them talking and it makes you look and think ‘Of course we can do this’. You look at the young guys coming through with incredible talent and you think ‘Of course we can do this’.

That’s the job of every single person whether that’s the guy in charge of the bus schedule, you have got to make it right and make it work for the team. If it is the senior players, making sure they do their job, get the right words in and lead from the front. Whether it is the young players to add that energy at every session and a level of respect. Whatever it is, it does not have to be perfect but you have to have a valid reason for believing why you can do it. You know if you are cheating yourself. You can be in the changing room before a game shouting ‘We can do this’ and everyone goes ‘Yeah, you’re right’. It’s not that. It is knowing why you can do this.

I’ll tell you why, because he’s one of the best players in the world, so’s he, so’s he, he’s been there and done everything, no one ever gets through him, we have beaten these guys already, our coaches love what they do, we know we are most professional and the fittest team, our facilities are the best – whatever it is at the end of it you know if those reasons are valid.
Can England be that team?

Of course they can. Look at those examples I have just given you. Yes they have got experience, yes they have got youth coming through, yes their facilities are wonderful, yes they have got the coaching talent. It’s all there. I spoke to Mike Brown and the way they talk about each other and you realise these guys are more than just teammates.

When you have a team that is full and so together it means that energy of the crowd can hit it and move it. If you are disjointed and have holes in your team then that wind of the crowd just blows through you.

When the crowd put the energy behind the team, England will feed off it because they are so tight.

Land Rover Ambassadors Jonny Wilkinson, Brad Thorn and Bryan Habana were speaking at the launch of ‘We Deal In Real’, Land Rover’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign which will champion the people that are at the heart and soul of the game by putting grassroots clubs on the global stage. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal

Source: Telegraph

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Jonny Wilkinson plays down talk he is set to join Stuart Lancaster’s England coaching team for the 2015 World Cup

Posted by Sonja in Mar 29,2015 with No Comments

England’s record-breaking former fly-half Jonny Wilkinson would ‘love’ to work with the national team in a coaching capacity, but stressed he was not about to link up with them.

The 35-year-old had been reported to be on the verge of taking a kicking consultancy role with Stuart Lancaster’s team ahead of a crucial few months as they build towards a World Cup on home soil.

However, when quizzed about the stories, Wilkinson, who scored 1,179 points for his country in 91 appearances, said he remained committed to his coaching role at Toulon.

He told Sky Sports News HQ: ‘I love the England set-up and I love the boys and all that, but it’s not my job.

‘I’d love to do that, but I’m not coaching there. I’m not involved in any way. I coach with Toulon and it’s unfortunately something that’s been misreported, I think.’

The former British and Irish Lion was coy over England’s chances at the World Cup, which gets under way in September, but believes they have the tools to go deep into the tournament.

‘I think it would take a brave person to bet against England,’ he said. ‘Okay, you might not choose to bet for them, but I would definitely say it’s a brave decision to bet against them.

‘I look at England and I think they’ve got it all. There’s a lot of responsibility in these next coming months to really pick up the pace and intensity because that’s what’s going to count at the end.’

Wilkinson thinks Lancaster’s side should take heart from their performances in the recently concluded RBS 6 Nations, despite their third successive runners-up finish.

It is their displays, not results, which hearten Wilkinson, who added: ‘Ireland deserved to win but I think first, second and third all had a great run.

‘We’ve been pushing this idea, myself and a few other guys, just talking about how important the performance is.

‘I really think for for the first time people are understanding that you can’t win everything.

‘Okay, (England) lost in Ireland but Ireland lost to Wales – it happens, but the performances have shown this team is going somewhere, they’re on the move, they’re finding the right balances, they’re finding the
right combinations and also their energy is one where you have faith now.’

Source: Daily Mail

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