Jonny Wilkinson named European Player of the Year

Jonny Wilkinson

Ex-England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has been named European Player of the Year.

The award is given to the player adjudged the best performer in the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups.

The 33-year-old helped Toulon to victory in Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont Auvergne at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

"To receive an award of this importance towards the end of my career is really special. I feel privileged to have been nominated," said Wilkinson.

The 2003 World Cup-winner kicked 11 points in a 16-15 win over Clermont as Toulon won a first major trophy in 20 years.

He scored 17 out of 17 penalties in the quarters, semis and final of this season's competition.

Wilkinson, who turned down the opportunity to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions this summer to concentrate on the conclusion of Toulon's season, follows in the footsteps of the Leinster duo of Rob Kearney and Sean O'Brien, winners in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

Leinster number eight Jamie Heaslip was also on the 2013 shortlist, along with three Clermont players - number eight Julien Bonnaire, centre Wesley Fofana and New Zealand wing Sitiveni Sivivatu.

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