Wilko aiming to end on a high with Heineken Cup win
Every neutral, English club rugby union fan could be forgiven for having split loyalties for the Heineken Cup final between odds-on Saracens (8/11) and Toulon (13/10).
It happens to be the last game of Jonny Wilkinson’s glittering career, after he announced his retirement, albeit perfectly timed. Never one for wanting to attract attention, he dropped the bombshell just after Manchester United appointed a new manager, and Ryan Giggs (another sportsman with a sweet left foot) revealed his decision to bow out.
Wilkinson, who will be fondly remembered for single-handedly winning the World Cup for England in 2003, with his last minute drop goal, would hope to secure a win in less dramatic circumstances.
However, he also plies his trade for French based club, Toulon, hence the potential divided loyalties. Saracens are in contention to win two cups this season, and are due to play their Premiership showdown against Northampton days after their clash with RCT.
Prop forward Matt Stevens recently gave an emotional interview prior to the final, stating the Sarries “saved his career”.
The 31-year-old, who will return to his home country South Africa at the end of the season, was handed a lifeline by the north London outfit, in 2011 after a two-year drugs ban.
“They called me out of the wilderness and gave me that second chance. They had faith in me and I will forever be in their debt,” he said ahead of the tie with Toulon.
“If you look at their team they are galacticos, full of international players.
“It will be an epic game. Hopefully by the end of it we will have prepared well enough for the right score.
“This group has gone through a huge transformation over the last five years. This is a special club and it will be incredible to win.”
Wilkinson, though, will be doing everything he can to ruin the Sarries’ parties.