Wilkinson could fly from Falcons nest after Black exit

Jonny Wilkinson’s future with Newcastle Falcons, the only club side he has played for since becoming a professional rugby union player, was in doubt Tuesday after the departure from the north-east side of his mentor Steve Black.


England outside-half Wilkinson, whose Newcastle contract expires at the end of the season, said the Falcons fitness coach had been a crucial figure in his rugby career.


“There is simply no one I am closer to in the world of professional sport,” Wilkinson told Tuesday’s edition of The Times. “Of course, I will stay close to him. He is a part of my life which simply can’t be removed like a piece of a jigsaw. It is way beyond that.


“He is the piece that is glued in place. We have a future invested in each other and loads of different directions to go together in the rest of our lives. For me at my age, it is exciting to think that.” Black told the Guardian: “Jonny is my pal and I will always be there for him. My leaving Newcastle will not change that.


“Nothing I will do in the future will affect our relationship. I will stay in the sport having been involved in it all my life but it is too early to say yet what I will be doing.” Wilkinson, England’s record points scorer, has seen his career blighted by a succession of injuries in recent years.


The 28-year-old also featured in October’s World Cup final where he kicked all England’s points in a 15-6 defeat against South Africa in Paris.


Wilkinson’s most celebrated rugby feat came when he landed the winning extra-time drop-goal that saw England beat Australia in the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney.


Sapa-AFP Rugbyweek.com

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