Jonny Wilkinson: 'It was a gut feeling'

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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Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson reveals that his decision to retire from rugby at the end of this season was down to a "gut feeling".

Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has revealed that his decision to retire from rugby at the end of the season was down to a "gut feeling".

Wilkinson will bring the curtain down on an illustrious career that has seen him win the World Cup with England, appear in six British and Irish Lions Tests and clinch domestic and European honours at club level.

The 34-year-old could be given a fairytale ending if Toulon are victorious in both the Heineken Cup final on Saturday and the Top 14 final against Castres on May 31, and he was happy to get the announcement out of the way in order to focus on the crucial double-header.

"I have been thinking about it throughout the year, and now is the right time and right feeling," Wilkinson is quoted as saying by PA.

"I also know that I want to get it completely out of the way so that we focus more than ever on these two games. It's a weight off my shoulders, to be honest.

"It has just been a gut feeling thing, and the gut feeling is loud and pretty true right now."

However, the former Newcastle Falcons man admitted to being apprehensive of what awaits him after he finally hangs up his boots.

"There is a huge amount of fear for anybody who is going into an area to which they are not accustomed," he added.

"Having been playing rugby since the day I left school, and having never had a proper job, I think this leaves me a bit unprepared in terms of what comes next. But at the same time I am seeing that as a positive step next in which everyone has to make.

"Everyone thinks they can carry on forever, but it is becoming ever more apparent when you see the size of the guys running alongside you - and at you - that it is ultimately a younger man's sport and reserved for those that have their future ahead of them, and not mine."

Wilkinson made 91 appearances for England during his career, with his finest moment coming when he kicked the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final.

James Haskell of London Wasps in action during the Aviva Premiership match between London Wasps and Newcastle Falcons at Adams Park on May 03, 2014
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