Jonny Wilkinson is the full package - Alan Tait

Johnny Wilkinson

Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait says former team-mate Jonny Wilkinson has 'the full package' as a fly-half, following his international retirement.

The 32-year-old former Falcons stand-off called time on his England career after 91 appearances to concentrate on his club career at French side Toulon.

"There are not many fly-halves who can tackle like Jonny, he played his own style," Tait told BBC Look North.

"He's got the defence, the kicking, great hands - he's the full package."

Tait, who won the Premiership title alongside Wilkinson with Newcastle in 1998, added: "For a coach to find a 10 who puts those hits in, you don't find many in a lifetime, that was his character.

"I'm sure when you see highlights of Jonny there will be as much of that as there will be silky skills."

Wilkinson made 158 appearances for the Falcons during a 12-year career at Kingston Park, before a move to Toulon in May 2009.

Since moving to the south of France, Wilkinson has been unable to add to his Premiership and English domestic cup successes.

Toulon are currently third in the French Top 14 division, but failed to qualify for the Heineken Cup in 2011-12.

Wilkinson returned to Newcastle for the first time last week for Toulon's Challenge Cup match against the Falcons, but coach Bernard Laporte did not call him off the bench.

"He's had a great career and he can now concentrate on Toulon," Tait continued.

"The player he is, he'll probably be looking at a French championship or a Heineken Cup to finish off before he calls it a day playing."

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