Jonny Wilkinson made a scintillating return to international rugby as the World Cup winner shone in England’s RBS 6 Nations victory over Scotland on this day in 2007.
Having played in just three Tests between his heroics in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia and the Calcutta Cup clash over three years later, Wilkinson was picked by England head coach Brian Ashton despite just 45 minutes of rugby in the previous 21 weeks.
The decision to start Wilkinson split opinion but Ashton, in his first match in the role, was soon vindicated as his star fly-half set a new points record in a Calcutta Cup fixture – racking up 27 in a 42-20 win at Twickenham.
After a dreadful run of injuries had curtailed Wilkinson’s career post-World Cup, this was his latest return having suffering a lacerated kidney and – 1,169 days on from his last England appearance – he was delighted to be back.
“It was just good to get back on the field, and feel the whole atmosphere,” he said.
“It is what I live a lot of my life for. You earn your place and I was worried after being selected. But I just wanted to do a job and help the team win.”
“It means a huge amount to be here to be honest, and I have got a lot of people to pay back for the confidence they have shown in me.”
His latest comeback was also a timely one, coming in another World Cup year.
Wilkinson would go on to tour South Africa that summer and then played in France as England looked to retain their world title, although his two penalties were not enough to prevent a 15-6 loss to South Africa in the final.