After last night’s clash of the titans at Stade de France, Jonny Wilkinson was interviewed by France 2 in apparent staged fashion.
Responding to a general question about the way the match went; Monsieur Wilkinson heaped praise on the young French side that he’d just helped to defeat, in English. No great surprise there. But then, contrary to normal procedure (whereby an interpreter voice-over’s the response in French) Jonny was asked to provide his own translation in French, which he did – and admirably so.
Okay so his accent was terrible, and he may well have stuck to straight Michel Thomas grammar, but it was pretty much spot-on. Not easy, when you have an audience of x million foreigners listening to your every word, but then I guess he’s used to a bit of pressure under the eye of the public.
So what was this all about? A spectacular bit of PR for England rugby? JW’s desire to show off his public school education? Or, could it be that JW is planning to relocate?
It would make sense, after spending most of his career in dreary Newcastle, that Monsieur Wilkinson might seriously toy with the idea of shipping overseas to end his career (of which he has about four years left in the top flight).
I’m hoping he’ll pick Stade Francais, in Paris (the nearest premiership side to Strasbourg) so I can go and see the man in action again. I’ve seen him on the field only twice in my lifetime. Once playing for Newcastle, against Bath, in Bath; and on a field in Australia one time – when he picked up a medal.