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'Voice of rugby' Ian Robertson lays down mic after 47-year career

Robertson is best known for his commentary of Jonny Wilkinson's match-winning drop goal in the 2003 World Cup final.

Ian Robertson brought his stellar 47-year career at the BBC to an close as England beat Australia 37-18 at Twickenham.

It was a fitting way for the BBC's rugby union correspondent to end his time behind the mic, watching the two countries who gave 73-year-old his finest moment in broadcasting when England became world champions in 2003.

Robertson became the voice of rugby with his distinctive Scottish accent and commentated on his final game as England ended their autumn internationals on a winning note.

Before the game, Robertson was handed a specially-made Christmas card by Sir Clive Woodward, England's coach when England beat Australia 20-17 in that World Cup final 15 years ago.

The card included a button on the back which played Robertson's unforgettable commentary as Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal sealed England's greatest ever victory.

Robertson shared commentary duties with Chris Jones when England took on Australia in their final game of 2018.

Before the game, Robertson said he hoped the game would not finish 0-0 as low-scoring games prove more difficult to commentate on, but Jonny May's second-minute try ensured that would not be an issue.

Midway through the first half, with England leading 10-3, Robertson took over the commentating, alongside former internationals Matt Dawson and Paul Grayson.

He may be bowing out, but Robertson showed his judgement remained as shrewd as ever in the 27th minute, calling a forward pass in the build-up to what Australian winger Dane Haylett-Petty thought was a try.

The try was awarded, but, after viewing replays on the big screen, referee Jaco Peyper correctly disallowed it.

Twickenham posted a thank you message to Robertson on the scoreboard during the half-time interval, which sparked a round of applause from those inside the ground.

At 4.22pm, Robertson took over from colleague Jones one last time before calling the final 20 minutes of the game, with England attacking Australia's line leading 27-13.

Another Owen Farrell penalty edged England further in front before England's fly-half converted his own try to give England a 37-13 lead.

Robertson's final act was to describe Israel Folau's last-minute consolation try to leave England victorious 37-18.

An emotional Robertson signed off with these final words of commentary: "The final whistle goes. It's all over. It's 37-18. A convincing victory for England. The day belongs to England and they have won 37-18."

After being thanked for his 47 years of service by presenter Mark Chapman in the studio, Robertson said it was an honour to work for the broadcaster.

"A million, million thanks to you," he said.

"I'm just so lucky to have worked with you guys for a large chunk of my 47 years. It's a great sports room at the BBC. I've loved every minute of it. It's been a brilliant life."


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