Jonny Jonny Jonny
Even in his valedictory message, released, as is the modern vogue, on his own website yesterday evening, there were echoes of the demons that have pursued Jonny Wilkinson since he first asked his dad to stop the car on the way to a mini-rugby session at the age of seven so that he could release his anxiety by being sick in the bushes.
That fear of failure never left him. In fact, it defined him, a tormented soul in search not only of perfection but also of inner peace. Even if he can be said to have achieved the former in dropping the goal that sent a nation into raptures, he never got close to the latter.
Nothing came easily to Wilkinson, the exemplar of one who willed himself to greatness rather than assumed it would alight on his shoulders.