England's triumphant World Cup skipper Martin Johnson will retire from all
mpetitive rugby at the end of the season - ruling him out of the British
and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the summer.
Speaking at a press conference to announce details of a testimonial game to
be played at Twickenham against a Jonah Lomu XV on June 4, Johnson revealed
that the game would be his last.
The 84-times-capped former England and British Lions captain retired from
international rugby after leading England to World Cup victory in Australia
in 2003, but he has continued to play club rugby for the Leicester Tigers
However the June 4 testimonial will finally draw the curtain on one of the
most illustrious careers in rugby history.
Despite fellow former internationals such as Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil
Back refusing to rule themselves out of the running for one last crack at
the All Blacks this summer, Johnson is adamant that the time is right for
him to finish.
"I'm confident I have made the right decision to retire," Johnson said.
"I'm sure there will be times next season when I'll wish I was out there
playing for the Tigers, but you know when the time is right to go and I feel
this is the right time.
"I feel physically that I could play for another season, but playing week in
and week out in the Premiership is a full-time occupation and I only want to
be out there for the right reasons.
"This game against Jonah will be a great way to end the season and end my
The game will also mark the return to top-level rugby of All Black legend
Lomu after the 29-year-old underwent a kidney transplant last year.
Lomu is keenly looking forward to the match.
"I'm doing this to set my soul at rest and finish something I started in
1994," Lomu said.
"It's an honour and a privilege to be able to make my comeback on the pitch
against Martin Johnson
"I'll take this game first and then hopefully play in the National
Provincial Competition after that but obviously the All Blacks will be the