“Jonny needed players around him” – Matt Dawson’s brutal take on Jonny Wilkinson - Ruck

“Jonny needed players around him” – Matt Dawson’s brutal take on Jonny Wilkinson

“England legend Jonny Wilkinson just wasn’t a natural playmaker,” says his former halfback partner Matt Dawson.

In a column in 2010, Dawson wrote, “What is missing in his repertoire is an ability to read the game, understand where England are playing and where they should be playing.”

Dawson also noted that Wilkinson’s reliance on other players for inspiration was a weakness.

“Wilkinson can play in the way that has been planned on a flip chart in team meetings, but if it comes down to him to work out on the hoof what options to take, more often than not he will kick – and miss opportunities to attack.” Dawson further added,

“That is not news, it’s the way it has always been. Jonny needs players around him – guys like Mike Catt, Will Greenwood, myself or Kyran Bracken – to take decisions, then he will execute them brilliantly.”

In response to Dawson’s comments, England legend Martin Johnson, who was the captain in 2003, fired back and said, “I didn’t make any decisions either; it was all Matt Dawson.”

Meanwhile, Austin Healey, a former player who was never a fixture in the team or in any one position, defended Wilkinson and said, “Get off Jonny Wilkinson’s case – and that includes you Matt Dawson.”

2003 Rugby World Cup final WAGS special: Here’s who our heroes settled down with

15. Josh Lewsey – possibly single 

Most recently known to have dated British Winter Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams in 2012 but it didn’t work out.

14. Jason Robinson – Sian Griffin

Robinson divorced first wife Amanda, with whom he has six children including; Cameron, Jemimah, Joseph and Lewis. In June 2017 he married Sian Griffin with whom he has one son, Noah.

13. Will Greenwood – Caroline Greenwood

Greenwood and his wife, Caroline, have three children. They previously had a son Freddie who died 45 minutes after his birth in 2002. He is a patron of Child Bereavement UK, a charity which supports parents who have lost a child.

12. Mike Tindall – Zara Phillips 

In 2010, it was announced that Tindall was engaged to Zara Phillips, only daughter of Anne, Princess Royal and the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. The couple, who now have two daughters, first met during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

11. Ben Cohen – Kristina Rihanoff

The winger was married to Abby Blayney in 2003, and has twin daughters with her, whom they named Harriette and Isabelle. The couple were estranged since 2014, and divorced in March 2016. In January 2016 it was announced, his former Strictly Come Dancing dance partner and now girlfriend, Kristina Rihanoff, have had their first child together, a daughter named Milena.