Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wilkinson Named as World's Best Player

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Wilkinson Named as World's Best Player

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alex Lowe

More glory comes to England's goal hero

The day after Jonny Wilkinson lived out millions of schoolboys' dreams by winning the World Cup with a drop-goal in the last minute of extra-time, the England fly-half was confirmed as the best player on the planet.

England's ice-cool points machine was last week named as the International Players' Player of the Year and completed a magnificent double in Sydney yesterday when the game's world governing body held their own annual awards.

It was a second night of celebration for the England party, who were named as the International Rugby Board's team of the year with Clive Woodward recognised as the game's most outstanding coach.

Wilkinson took a rare day off after his monumental feat at the Telstra Stadium, spending most of the day at England's base in Manly where his every move was cheered by a crowd of England fans a couple-of-hundred strong who were camped outside the team hotel.

The smallest wave from the sea-front balcony was greeted with stirring cheers below after he booted four penalties and THAT drop goal with the seconds ticking towards sudden-death extra-time.

It not only won England the World Cup but left Wilkinson as the tournament's leading points-scorer, with 113, and ensured he succeeds France's Fabien Galthie as IRB Player of the Year.

"It's been a year to remember," said Wilkinson, who beat competition from team-mate Steve Thompson, All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw, Australia's Phil Waugh and French number eight Imanol Harinordoquy.

"It's been hard work, because it always is trying to play week in and week out and trying to win, often by a point at a time. We wanted to cap it off like this, and thankfully that has happened. Now I am hoping to get a chance to relax and let it sink in because it has been a great tournament. …

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