Wilkinson set to coach at Toulon
May 21, 2014
Will Greenwood pays tribute to World Cup-winning team-mate
Jonny Wilkinson will begin life after retirement as a specialist skills coach with Toulon, according to head coach Bernard Laporte.
Wilkinson, who hangs up his boots next Saturday after a 17-year career, is understood to be eager to continue working in rugby when his playing career comes to an end, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that Laporte will welcome him into his coaching set-up with open arms.
"Jonny expressed his desire to join the coaching staff, because he did not want to finish in too brutal a manner," said Laporte. "It's all the better for him and for us, because he can help us a lot. He will advise the players on their technical abilities, on their handling and kicking."
Having enjoyed something of a rebirth after joining Toulon in 2009, Wilkinson has no plans to move from the French Riviera and is keen to impart his work ethic on the club's younger players. He has spoken of his desire to go into coaching and even hinted at a possible England role in the future.
"I see so much potential around in so many players. I see so many making such huge sacrifices for their teams and really testing themselves," he said. "If I can help make a difference - even if it's only a small percentage - then it all comes around.
"If you can give people the evidence that they deserve to be confident then it can add to performance. I would love to be able to do that. With England? Of course, that would be amazing."
Wilkinson could end his glittering career with yet more silverware as Toulon take on Saracens in the Heineken Cup final on Saturday before facing Castres in the Top 14 final on May 31. Bakkies Botha, who has played with Wilkinson for three seasons, said his team-mates were determined to give Wilkinson a fine farewell: "We want these two weeks to be huge weeks - it would be great to give Jonny that kind of send-off."
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