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Wilkinson in Newcastle for Rugby World Cup countdown

England's Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson has been back in Newcastle to mark the countdown to next year's tournament.

It's exactly one year to go until St James' Park stages it's first game of Rugby World Cup 2015. New Zealand, South Africa and Scotland are the teams competing in Group matches at the stadium.

Wilkinson, who played for Newcastle Falcons from 1997 to 2009, was at Newcastle Racecourse today.

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Wilkinson drops the World Cup

Jonny Wilkinson Credit: PA

England World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson was left red-faced when he dropped the World Cup at an event in Newcastle.

The stumble was greeted with a huge gasp from the onlooking crowd as the base of the Webb Ellis Cup gave way.

Rugby World Cup winner Wilkinson was at Newcastle Racecourse to mark a year to the day that the competition is played in the city.

South Africa will play Scotland in the first St James' Park fixture in October 2015.

Jonny Wilkinson comes to Newcastle

onny Wilkinson during the Heineken Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 ambassador Jonny Wilkinson is in Newcastle to mark one year to go until the first Rugby World Cup 2015 match, South Africa v Scotland, is played at St James' Park.

The one year to go milestone also coincides with the city hosting their regional 'Try Outs'; the selection events for 'The Pack', the 6,000 Rugby World Cup 2015 volunteers that will help to welcome the world to England and the Game of rugby next year.

Jonny Wilkinson will be in attendance at the event, along with the Webb Ellis Cup, to meet volunteers and experience the selection process first hand, having helped launch the search for the volunteers back in February.

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Jonny Wilkinson announces his retirement

Jonny Wilkinson Credit: PA

Former England and Newcastle Falcons rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement from the sport.

The 34-year-old confirmed in a statement he will hang up his boots at the end of the season.

Wilkinson most famously kicked the last-minute drop goal to seal England's World Cup victory against Australia in 2003. he played for Newcastle Falcons from 1997 to 2009.

Richards relishing World Cup in Newcastle

Newcastle Falcons boss Dean Richards says next year's Rugby World Cup will "open a few people's eyes".

Newcastle has been chosen as one of 11 host cities for the tournament with Scotland, South Africa and New Zealand all playing matches at St James' Park in October 2015.

Today the Rugby World Cup trophy - the Webb Ellis Cup - came to Kingston Park as part of a UK tour.

Falcons head coach to leave

Newcastle Falcons head coach Peter Russell will be leaving the club for personal reasons at the end of the current season. Russell arrived on Tyneside in the summer of 2012 from New Zealand and in his first season, Newcastle sealed promotion back to the top-flight in convincing fashion.

He implemented free-flowing attacking rugby in the North East, a feature of the game that Russell is renowned for promoting in his homeland.

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