James Haskell pays Jonny Wilkinson tribute

Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson is tackled by Glasgow Warriors' Henry Pyrgos during their Heineken Cup match on January 18, 2014
© AFP
England and Wasps flanker James Haskell pays tribute to Jonny Wilkinson following the fly-half's announcement that he will retire this summer.

England and London Wasps flanker James Haskell has paid tribute to Jonny Wilkinson following the fly-half's announcement that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old confirmed on Monday that he would be quitting the sport this summer, bringing an end to a successful 17-year career.

Wilkinson, who currently plays his rugby in France with Toulon, is best known for playing a key part in England's World Cup win in 2003.

"He is one of the biggest ever legends to play rugby," Haskell told BBC Sport. "He was the David Beckham, he put rugby on the map, he won the World Cup for England.

"The best thing about Jonny was he was single minded and focused, but he was very much a team man. He gave up time to help me and if he decided to go into coaching, that is where his expertise would help."

Wilkinson is expected to feature for Toulon on Saturday when they defend their Heineken Cup crown against Saracens in Cardiff.

Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon kicks a penalty during the Heineken Cup pool 2 match between Cardiff Blues and Toulon at Cardiff Arms Park on October 19, 2013
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