Wilkinson announces retirement

The 34-year-old’s decision had been widely expected, and he will bring the curtain down on his glittering career after Saturday’s Heineken Cup final against Saracens and the Top 14 final against Castres a week later.

Wilkinson has become one of the most recognisable faces in the sport since converting an extra-time drop goal to seal England’s first World Cup triumph in 2003, and won 91 caps for his country before retiring from the international stage in 2011.

The former Newcastle Falcons man joined Toulon in 2011 and has Six Nations, Premiership and Heineken Cup titles to his name, while also sitting second behind New Zealand’s Dan Carter in the list of all-time international Test points scorers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce my retirement from playing rugby,” he said on Monday. “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.”

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