Top 14: Eight players inducted into Toulon Hall of Fame including Jonny Wilkinson

Jared Wright
Toulon have revealed the first eight members of their Hall of Fame, with Jonny Wilkinson named amongst the Top 14 club’s legends.

RC Toulon Jonny Wilkinson during the French Top 14 rugby union final between Castres Olympique and RC Toulon, at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, on May 31, 2014. England legend Jonny Wilkinson played a starring role in his final match as a professional as Toulon added the French Top 14 title to their European crown with an 18-10 victory over holders Castres on Saturday. Photo Christian Liewig/ABACAPRESS.COM

Toulon have revealed the first eight members of their Hall of Fame, with Jonny Wilkinson named amongst the Top 14 side’s legends.

The club asked its supporters to vote for the inductees, and eight players have been announced. An induction ceremony will take place on Tuesday, April 18. 

The eight inductees are:

Marcel Bailette

The first entry into the Toulon Hall of Fame is Marcel Bailette, who captained the side to their first French title in 1931.

A former wing/centre, Bailette represented the club for 15 years before returning and would remain in Toulon until his passing in 1987.

He also played 17 times for France and captained his country once.

Marcel Bodrero

While Marcel Bodrero was a beloved player during his career at the club, arguably his most significant contribution to the side is the famed ‘Pilou-Pilou’ song.

He wrote the famed chant in 1948. He also founded the Toulon Academy, where he coached after his retirement.

Christian Carrere

A former flanker at the club, Christian Carrere featured in two French titles during his 14-year career at Toulon between 1964 and 1978.

In the statement confirming the inductees, Carrere is described as par excellence for a flanker.

A former captain of France, he represented his country 27 times, leading them on 18 occasions.

André Herrero

The eldest of the Herrero brothers, Andre played in two French finals during his playing days at Toulon in 1968 and 1971.

The back-rower turned out 22 times for France and moved into coaching after retirement.

Renowned for donning his red bandana on the touchline, Herrero would become the club president and presided over the side’s 1992 title-winning season.

Eric Champ

A two-time French Championship winner with Toulon, Eric Champ spent his entire playing career at the club, winning the Bouclier de Brennus in 1980 and 1994.

Nicknamed “Barbarian of the Rade”, Champ was renowned for always being at the forefront of the fight.

During his career, he earned 42 Test caps for France and played in two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991. He also won a Grand Slam and four Five Nations titles with Les Bleus.

Jerome Gallion

Another one club legend, Jerome Gallion, played for Toulon between 1975 and 1989.

During his 14-year-long career, the scrum-half was regarded as one of the best in the world and earned 27 caps for his country.

Like Herrero, Gallion moved into the president role at the club and was tasked with cleaning up the club’s finances and paving the way for professionalism after his retirement.

Joe van Niekerk

A fan favourite from the moment he arrived at the club, former Springbok number eight Joe van Niekerk captained the side to new heights.

He arrived at Toulon in 2008 and would stay for six seasons, during which time the side won back-to-back Champions Cup titles, a Top 14  trophy and reached two Challenge Cup finals. He captained the side during this prosperous period.

Described as one of the “darlings” of the Stade Mayol and its supporters, Van Niekerk played 122 times for the club before retiring in 2014.

Jonny Wilkinson

A catalyst in Toulon’s most successful period, Wilkinson guided the side to glory in the Champions Cup and Top 14, winning the former twice.

His stint at Toulon was the final chapter of his glittering career. He represented the side 141 times, scoring an astonishing 1,884 points.

He scored 13 points in the Champions Cup final against Saracens in 2014, securing the 23-6 victory for his side.

A week later, he captained the side in his final match against Castres as the side won the Top 14 final 18-10, with supporters from both clubs singing “God Save the Queen” in tribute to him after the game.

READ MORE: Loose Pass: Head collision idiocy, Marcus Smith and Ardie Savea’s responses and one to watch