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Jonny Wilkinson: 17 years of breaking rugby records

Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement from rugby. Photo: PA wire

Jonny Wilkinson has announced his retirement from rugby after playing professionally for 17 years.

The former England fly half began his career at the Newcastle Falcons playing for the under 21's.

Despite numerous injuries and operations, he will retire this summer as one of only five men to score more than 1,000 points in international rugby, and the only player to score points in two World Cup finals.

  • 1997 - Wilkinson begins his career with the Newcastle Falcons, and plays for England Under 21s as they beat New Zealand, France and Wales.
  • 1998 - At the age of 18, named as substitute for England versus Scotland in Five Nations match against Scotland at Murrayfield. He then makes England debut against Ireland, coming off the bench at Twickenham.
  • Feb 1999 - Makes first start for England at age of 19 in Five Nations against Scotland and kicks four goals as England win Calcutta Cup match 24-21. Claims Six Nations individual tournament record with 35 points in England's 80-23 thrashing of Italy.
Feb 1999. Jonny Wilkinson lines up with the England prior to their Five Nations match against Scotland. Credit: PA wire
  • May 2002 - Wilkinson suffers ankle ligament damage in Newcastle's defeat by Gloucester, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Dec 2002: Jonny Wilkinson is made an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List. Credit: PA wire
  • Feb 2003 - Wilkinson finishes as the top scorer in the Six Nations, scoring 77 points to help England win the Grand Slam.
November 2003. England's Jonny Wilkinson kicking the winning drop goal to clinch the Rugby World Cup for England. Credit: PA wire
  • Nov 2003 - Wilkinson kicks last minute drop-goal in extra time to seal England's World Cup victory over Australia in the final in Sydney. Wilkinson had earlier kicked all England's points in their 24-7 semi-final victory over France.
Nov 2003: Jonny Wilkinson looking at his winners medal after England's victory over Australia in the Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney. Credit: PA wire
  • Dec 2003 - Wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and it's confirmed he will receive an OBE in the 2004 New Year Honours list.
Dec 2003. Wilkinson wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Credit: PA wire

During much of the next three years, from 2004 - 2007, injury forces Wilkinson off the rugby pitch.

  • Feb 2004 - Shoulder operation rules Wilkinson out of Six Nations and three-Test tour to New Zealand and Australia.
  • Oct 2004 - He is confirmed as Lawrence Dallaglio's successor as England captain for the three November Test matches, but later forced to pull out of the games due to a haematoma in the upper right arm.
  • Jan 2005 - Suffers knee ligament damage in Newcastle's Heineken Cup defeat in Perpignan.
  • March 2005 -Suffers medial ligament damage on Newcastle comeback against Harlequins.
  • Nov 2005 - Has a major operation for related groin problems.
  • Sept 2006 - Wilkinson's hopes of playing in the autumn tests for England are effectively ended when he is forced off the pitch with a knee ligament injury during Newcastle's home game against Worcester.
Feb 2007. England's Jonny Wilkinson (centre) kicks a penalty against Italy during the RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham, London. Credit: PA wire

He makes his international comeback in 2007 and begins clocking up a series of rugby records.

  • Feb 2007 - Scores a Calcutta Cup record 27 points as England romp to 42-20 victory over Scotland. Also becomes the leading points scorer in Five and Six Nations history with a third-minute penalty against Italy at Twickenham.
  • Oct 2007 - Wilkinson overtakes Gavin Hastings as the World Cup's all-time leading points-scorer, kicking all of England's points as they beat Australia 12-10 in the World Cup quarter-finals.
  • Feb 2008 - Becomes first player to pass 1,000 points for England in 23-19 victory over Italy. Overtakes Hugo Porta's world record with 29th drop goal in Tests as England win 24-13 in France.
  • March 2008 - Overtakes Neil Jenkins as Test rugby's leading points-scorer in 15-9 defeat by Scotland.

Jonny Wilkinson leaves Newcastle Falcons in 2009 to join French club Toulon.

Two years later, in December 2011, he announces his retirement from international rugby.

May 2013. Jonny Wilkinson celebrating with the trophy after the Heineken Cup Final match in Dublin. Credit: PA wire

After a long career which started when he was 17-years-old, Jonny Wilkinson, 34, announced his retirement from the sport on Toulon's website earlier today.

I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce my retirement from playing rugby.

It goes without saying that I have an enormous number of people to thank for their support from all around the world but especially here in France and in England.

This however is not at all the time to be concentrating on this as I would like to focus all my attention and energy on the team and these final two games of the season.

I sincerely thank you all for everything you have given me and for making these last 17 years something I will never forget.

– Jonny Wilkinson