No knighthood for Wilkinson

Date published: December 31 2014

Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has not received a knighthood contrary to reports at the weekend.

Wilkinson, who was England’s hero during their 2003 World Cup triumph in Australia, finished his career at Top 14 club Toulon earlier this year and according to a report in the Sunday Mirror was rumoured to be on the Queen’s Honours list.

On Tuesday, the 35-year-old had fuelled speculation that he would be knighted by tweeting: “So many more deserving amongst u who won’t get recognition.

“To you I say thanks 4 the lessons in life. 4 the messages- u guys are incredible.”

Civil servants will look into why people have been wrongly named by the British media as being honoured, with former England football captain David Beckham also previously reported to be receiving a knighthood.

“It’s particularly unfair when names get quoted in the papers who then subsequently aren’t on the list,” said Bob Kerslake, the outgoing head of the Civil Service.

“In every sense it’s highly regrettable and we will look into this.”

Britain’s honours are bestowed by the monarch, but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.

Meanwhile, Sarah Hunter and Rochelle Clark who won the Women’s World Cup with England in France earlier this year, were amongst those who received MBEs in the New Year Honours.

Number eight Hunter was England’s vice-captain un their win over Canada in the final, while prop Clark is England’s second most-capped player having won 95 caps for her country.

The duo were delighted to be on the honours list.

“It’s a massive honour to be recognised in this way,” Hunter told Sky Sports.

“As a team we have enjoyed incredible success and I’m so proud to be a part of that.

“This is for everyone who has been involved in my journey along the way – from when I started playing at the age of nine all the way through to winning the World Cup this summer.

“It’s the medics who get you onto the pitch, my family who have been incredible throughout and of course all of the players and coaches.

“It’s a real team effort and it’s been a massive whirlwind since we won the World Cup – it hasn’t sunk in yet and to have this award on top is surreal. It’s such an honour.”

Clark admitted she never expected to be honoured in a way she made Test debut 11 years ago.

“I feel hugely honoured and proud to receive this award and would like to thank my family, and in particular my mum for driving me around, my friends and all the coaches along the way for supporting me,” she said.

“And a special mention to [England women’s forwards coach] Graham Smith for making me the player I am today.

“If you had asked me in 2003 – when I got my first cap – if I would become a world champion and receive an MBE I wouldn’t have believed it, but 11 years on it’s all happened at once.

“What a year 2014 has been and I still feel I have lots to give, on and off the field.”