Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has insisted that he does not regret his decision to retire from rugby – although he still sometimes dreams about playing.
Wilkinson – a World Cup winner in 2003 - ended a glittering playing career with a Heineken Cup final win with Toulon in May but he told Sky Sports News HQ that his “time has gone” in the game.
“It’s a funny feeling – and not one I’m used to,” he said. “As long as I can remember I’ve woken up thinking about rugby. I still have the odd dream where I’m running round the changing room and can’t find my boots or I’m not prepared and I wake up in a mild panic.
“Rugby has added a huge purpose and motivation to what I’ve done – it’s fuelled the rest of my life around it for a long, long time – but to be honest I’m enjoying the flip side of that coin at the moment and the opportunity to look at things from a slightly different perspective.
“When I first came back to training with Toulon I wondered if I would look at the guys and feel that I’ve still got that edge – but I don’t. My time has gone and what has made that easy has been that I probably played a year-and-a-half longer than I would have done had I gone purely on a heart perspective.
“But I added my mind into that and I made what I like to think was a very good decision – using my head and choosing to override the heart. But because of that I’ve drained every bit of whatever I had left playing rugby.
“There were times during that last year that I was there, days after games, thinking to myself ‘I’m not sure I want to do this anymore’ and I was able to push through that – but now it’s over, I’ve milked everything from that experience and I know it’s done for me.”
You can hear more from Jonny Wilkinson throughout the day on Sky Sports News HQ – now in its new home of Sky channel 401