Rob Burrow with Jonny Wilkinson

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josie andrews
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Rob Burrow with Jonny Wilkinson

Post by josie andrews »

Jonny Wilkinson tells Rob Burrow which Super League side he nearly joined

The England Rugby Union legend Jonny Wilkinson, 44, tells Rob Burrow about his love for rugby league and how he had the chance to switch codes during an injury layoff

Former England rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson has revealed how close he came to switching codes with Wigan.

The World Cup winner is a big lover of rugby league and spoke about almost giving it a crack in a new podcast hosted by Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow. When asked if he’d ever considered switching codes, he said: “It’s mad: I probably watch more rugby league than I do rugby union. It’s been like that for a long time

"I always wondered: ‘Could I do it?’ “I always wondered if I could adapt. And I had an opportunity. I was injured for so long I had a couple of opportunities. They were largely just there thrown out to help me out to say ‘look, after your injuries, do you want to come and do a summer with us?’

“It was just a few months around the Wigan team at the time. And there was part of me that thought I’d love to go find out. The only issue was that had I reinjured, the rest of my career was gone: Clubs who’d employed me would never have let that go

The ex-Newcastle and Toulon fly-half, who kicked England to World Cup glory in 2003, endured a number of serious injuries and battled long periods of self-torment in his glorious career. He was the guest on the second episode of Seven: Rob Burrow, a seven-part BBC podcast series where the rugby league great - who’s battling motor neurone disease - and wife Lindsey interview sporting legends.

Wilkinson, 44, played alongside ex-Wigan icons Jason Robinson and Andy Farrell for England and added: “I was hugely inspired by it (rugby league). I spent a lot of my time trying to impress those guys that came towards me!

"The Jasons [Robinson] and Andy Farrells, whenever I was next to them I was like I’ve got to do something so they respect me. I love what the guys do. I love the fact if you were to go take a ball it’s because you mean to score. I watch it all the time. If it’s on I find myself sat there going ‘oh, highlights of more Super League games or the NRL.’

Wilkinson, in fact, presented Wigan’s Grand Final jerseys to their players ahead of the 2014 Old Trafford showpiece. On the podcast, Burrow has Wilkinson - renowned for being a perfectionist - in stitches after cheekily asking how he feels to “no longer be the best” after Owen Farrell recently surpassed his England points record. But asked about one time where he overcame an obstacle he thought impossible, Wilkinson - Burrow's second guest after Wayne Rooney - replied: “The impossible for me I never fully overcame.

I spent my life trying to be that guy who saved the team, led the team and came up with the goods when it was needed. But in my final year in France, five times, either just before the final whistle or just after, I had a chance to draw or win the game. I missed all five. Every single one.

"And I was that guy. When I was a kid I dreamt of being carried off on shoulders. And my final year when I’ve done all the work I've missed all five. Instead of being carried off on the shoulders and looking down on my team-mates going 'they love me' I looked in their eyes and saw heartbreak. I felt all those scars coming up - you were never enough, it’s showing you now, they’ll never respect you - all those things I was after."

* The podcast, called Seven: Rob Burrow after the number on Burrow's rugby shirt, is a seven part-series available on The Total Sport Podcast on BBC Sounds ... w-31438023
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage. #18thMan
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Re: Rob Burrow with Jonny Wilkinson

Post by Blackpool_Pie »

Wilkinson truly is an iconic sportsman. I've listened to him on many podcasts and his determination and will to win and play well surpasses anyone else in any sport I believe, verging on it ruining his life for a time. I have no doubt whatsoever if he came to league he would have been a success. People will know him for his kicking as that's what won a lot of matches, but his all round game was absolutely world class
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