Posted by Sonja in Apr 17,2014 with No Comments
Dan Carter has described how Jonny Wilkinson – “the ultimate professional” – inspired him to climb to the summit of world rugby.
The 100-cap New Zealand fly-half admitted that the England World Cup winner set new standards on and off the pitch, which motivated rivals, such as Carter, to strive to emulate Wilkinson’s extraordinary work ethic.
Wilkinson is set to retire in the summer after 17 years of professional rugby with Newcastle Falcons, Toulon, England and the British and Irish Lions.
The 34-year-old can still close his glittering career with a second consecutive European Cup title, with holders Toulon hosting Munster in the last four of the final Heineken Cup.
Carter said Wilkinson’s exemplary attitude and determination forced him to raise his own personal standards, helping him forge a lasting career with the Crusaders and the All Blacks.
“If I was thinking about the best rugby players of all time he would be up there,” Carter said.
“What he’s done for the game both on and off the field, he’s played for a lot of years, had a lot of tough times through injury.
“But to see him fight his way back and achieve what he has over in France, it’s just a huge testament to the guy and the character that he is.
“He’s the ultimate professional, probably works harder than any other player in the world, and he deserves all the accolades, rewards and success he’s had throughout his career.
“I don’t model my game on any player specifically, but he’s definitely a player I hold in high regard.
“When I came on to the international scene in 2003 he was at his prime, and he was a player that everyone was looking forward to watching.
“Just watching him and the way he went about his work, you heard and you could see the hard work that he put in on the training paddock.
“So for me to try to get to his level, I realised I had to work extremely hard, so I guess I learned that from him, that you can’t fluke success.”
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