Jonny Wilkinson and 5 Other Rugby Icons Who Deserve Their Shirt Number Retired

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Jonny Wilkinson and 5 Other Rugby Icons Who Deserve Their Shirt Number Retired
David Rogers/Getty Images

The retirement of players’ shirt numbers is commonplace in American sports and world football.

Sporting greats like Michael Jordan, Dan Marino and Wayne Gretzky have had their numbers immortalised in retirement after illustrious playing careers, and West Ham no longer allocate the No. 6 to any player in honour of England’s World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore.

But it has never happened in rugby, which made Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal’s request to the French league to retire the No. 10 jersey in honour of Jonny Wilkinson a surprise move.

In rugby the jersey number represents the position of the player far more so than in football and American sports, where squad numbers have long been commonplace. In rugby, No. 1 to No. 15 take to the field and play in the positions those shirts belong to.

It is a mark of the World Cup-winning fly-half's impact on the club in a relatively short period of time that Toulon are considering this move, which would be a first for rugby.

Should it catch on, there are a few other greats who might deserve the same honour. Here are my five.

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