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Rugby hero weds in France

Jonny Wilkinson marries in simple ceremony with few guests in the Var

BRITISH rugby star Jonny Wilkinson has married his girlfriend Shelley Jenkins in the Var.

Wilkinson, who shot to fame when he scored the winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, tied the knot yesterday in Bandol.

The town of 9,000 inhabitants, famous for its wine, is about 15km west of Toulon for whom he has played since 2009.

The 34-year-old fly-half, who was named ERC European Player of the Year 2013, had a very simple ceremony. Mayor Christian Palix, who led it, said: “Jonny Wilkinson asked me to do a very intimate wedding, with no information to the public and press and with just two friends as witnesses – and, obviously, his bride.”

He said Mr Wilkinson’s mother was not present, as has been reported in the British press, adding they may have got confused between maire (mayor) and mère, which sound the same.

Mr Palix said he was honoured to marry Mr Wilkinson “because he is an exemplary Bandolais” much appreciated in the town for his professional qualities, modest and humble attitude and strong ethics.

He also praised Mrs Wilkinson, saying “birds of a feather flock together”, adding he offered them a gift of an olive tree “which is a symbol of long-lasting happiness and is better than our symbol – the Bandol vine - because he doesn’t drink”.

Mr Palix said Mr Wilkinson is often seen out and about doing his shopping in the town. “I gave him the town’s medal a short while ago and we organised a little event with local youth. He is very close to our young people and, I think, later on he plans to be involved in some of our sporting activities.”

Photo: Léna

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