Jonny Wilkinson


With 26 seconds to go of extra time in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, Jonny Wilkinson secured his place in sporting history.

The rugged fly-half and phenomenally accurate goal kicker chose that moment to slot home the drop goal that won England the match against home town favourites Australia.

It was the culmination of a magical tournament for Wilkinson. His 113 points made him the competition's top scorer and the public responded by making him the 2003 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Wilkinson could kick off both feet, tackle like a demon and control a game from the pivotal number 10 spot.

Such all-round skills have served him well at club level for Newcastle Falcons and Toulon and were recognised very early internationally – his 1998 England debut made him the country's youngest ever international, aged just 18.

But his all-action style has always put incredible strain on his body and injuries have consistently dogged his career.

The fact that he is still playing top-flight club rugby 10 years after his finest hour is testament to the mental and physical toughness of one of the greatest ever English rugby players.

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Jonny Wilkinson