Jonny Peter Wilkinson OBE (born 25 May 1979 at Frimley in Surrey) is an English rugby union player and current captain of the England Rugby Union team. He plays his club rugby for the Guinness Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.

Jonny was educated at Pierrepont in Frensham and Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire, having started playing as a four year old at Farnham RFC. He was spotted by former England fly-half Rob Andrew and brought along with his family to live in Newcastle. Though he is probably the world's most famous fly-half, he started his career as an inside centre. He is particularly known for the accuracy of his kicking. He is also noted for making hard hits often 'bouncing' opponents.

He made his England debut in 1998 at the age of 18. He won his first cap at 18 and toured South Africa with England in 2000, kicking all of the points in their 27-22 win in Bloemfontein.

Early in his career he set an individual Six Nations points scoring record with his 35 points against Italy at Twickenham in 2001, to overtake the record of his Newcastle Falcons boss, Rob Andrew. He scored all 15 points as England beat New Zealand 15-13 in Wellington 2003 and was a major factor in their 25-14 win over Australia a week later. By the end of 2003 he had scored 817 points (more than twice as many as any other England player) in 52 matches for his country.

Jonny was the first choice fly-half for the 2001 Lions tour to Australia where he equalled the Lions best individual total in a Test, with 18.

He has a reputation for an obsessive approach to training; in particular spending hours a day on goal-kicking practice even while at school. This has shown some dividends; in 2003 he kicked the winning drop goal in the last minute of extra time of the final of the Rugby World Cup against Australia, and soon after was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Wilkinson was also named the 2003 IRB World Player of the Year. In the same year he became the youngest ever Rugby Union player to receive a New Year's Honour with an MBE, and received an OBE in 2004.

His rate of scoring suggests that, barring further injuries, Wilkinson should break the current (2004) international world record points tally of 1,052 (held by Neil Jenkins) by 2007. However, due to a series of injuries, he did not play a single international game between the 2003 World Cup final and the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand.

Within a couple of weeks of winning the World Cup he was found to have had a broken facet in his shoulder and missed the 2004 Six Nations and the disastrous tour of New Zealand and Australia. Wilkinson was named Captain of the England team on 4 October 2004, replacing Lawrence Dallaglio who had resigned five weeks earlier. However, he was kept out of the 2004 autumn internationals by a haematoma in his upper right arm, the captaincy being taken over by Jason Robinson. In January 2005 he injured his medial knee ligament in a match against Perpignan. He missed the opening matches of the 2005 Six Nations Championship and on his return to Newcastle on 13 March 2005 he injured the same knee again.

In total he had played a total of 938 minutes of competitive rugby union in almost 18 months, but was nonetheless given a chance to prove his fitness for the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand. He did so and was called up to the Lions on 8 May. Wilkinson made his first international appearance since the 2003 World Cup final on 23 May at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as the Lions played Argentina. The Pumas played a second-choice side, as they were missing a total of 25 players from their selection pool due to club commitments, and were widely considered to be little challenge to the Lions, even though the hosts were also playing a largely second-choice side. However, the Pumas played an inspired game, while by all accounts the Lions phoned in their performance. One of the few bright spots for the Lions was Wilkinson, who kicked a conversion and six penalties. Wilkinson saved the Lions from a humiliating upset with a penalty on the last kick of the game, salvaging a 25-25 draw.


Preceded byFabien Galthié IRB Player of the Year 2003 Succeeded bySchalk Burger Preceded byPaula Radcliffe BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2003 Succeeded byKelly Holmes