Wilkinson among new Hall of Fame inductees

Jonny wilkinson (Getty Images)
Jonny wilkinson (Getty Images)

London - England's 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson led the list of this year's 12 inductees into the Rugby Hall of Fame announced on Monday.

Among those joining Wilkinson in the now 132-strong Hall of Fame compiled by World Rugby, rugby union's global governing body, were fellow recently-retired internationals Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) and Shane Williams (Wales), as well as his England World Cup-winning colleague Lawrence Dallaglio.

Former flyhalf Wilkinson bowed out of senior rugby in 2014 after helping French club Toulon complete a Top 14 and European Cup double.

But the goalkicking ace will be best remembered for the last-ditch drop-goal that saw England beat hosts Australia in the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney.

O'Driscoll retired two years ago, finishing his Test career with a rare Irish victory away to France in Paris on the same Stade de France ground where the centre announced his brilliance with a hat-trick of tries in 2000.

Williams is Wales's record try-scorer, with 58 in 87 appearances and was also a member of two Six Nations Grand Slam-winning sides.

Another of the 2012 inductees is Japan's Daisuke Ohata, whose tally of 69 tries in 58 Tests is the most by any player in international rugby union history.

But Ohata's tally has long been qualified by critics who say his right to a world record is undermined by the fact that so few of his tries came against major Test-playing nations.

Two outstanding centres in Wales' John Dawes, captain of the only British and Irish Lions side to win a series in New Zealand, in 1971, and England's Jeremy Guscott, one of the stars of the Lions' 1997 triumph in South Africa, were among players from previous generations included among this year's inductees.

Meanwhile, the women's game was represented in the 'Class of 2016' by England's Maggie Alphonsi and Canada's Heather Moyse.

"The latest set of inductions includes some real legends, players who have helped to shape the image of rugby and inspire generations of fans," said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

"They are truly some of the biggest names in our sport and all have contributed immensely to the enjoyment we have all felt watching top-level rugby over the decades," the former England and Lions captain added.

The 12 players will be formally inducted on Thursday during a ceremony to coincide with the opening of a an actual Hall of Fame, open to visitors, in Rugby -- the English Midlands town after which the sport is named.

"While the Hall of Fame has been in existence for some years, it is exciting that finally it will have a permanent home and fitting that it should be in the town that gave our game its name, Rugby," said Beaumont.

2016 World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees:

Brian O'Driscoll (IRL), Shane Williams (WAL), Jeremy Guscott (ENG), Lawrence Dallaglio (ENG), Heather Moyse (CAN), John Dawes (WAL), GPS Macpherson (SCO), Arthur Gould (WAL), Jonny Wilkinson (ENG), Daniel Carroll (AUS/USA), Daisuke Ohata (JPN), Maggie Alphonsi (ENG)

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