Ape to Gentleman were delighted to speak with world rugby’s superstar and true gentleman Jonny Wilkinson. Jonny was preparing for an upcoming match for his club side RC Toulon v. Cardiff in the 2010 Amlin Challenge Cup Final, but we were lucky enough to steal a few moments of his time and ask the following questions, enjoy!

CB:Jonny, you’ve played for your country 78 times and the British Lions 6, scoring over a thousand points, won the World Cup and scored one of the most memorable drop goals of all time, have countless kicking records, an OBE and an honorary doctorate – what do you hope to achieve next?

JW: When I was young, my goals were achieving milestones similar to those you’ve mentioned above. Now, things have evolved, I’m focusing on building a solid foundation where I can get the best out of myself and in a professional manner.

CB: You have always played rugby from a young age. If you could be a world beater at any other sport what would it be?

JW: When I was younger I always enjoyed sports such as tennis and golf. I put a 100% into everything I do and would have enjoyed training myself to get better at these sports. However, my passion is rugby and the unity you get from playing in a team sport is fantastic – if I had to choose a different sport to rugby I would say basketball.

CB: RC Toulon are playing Cardiff in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final this Saturday in Marseille – what do you miss most about Newcastle and what do you enjoy the most about Southern France? You can’t say the weather, it’s too obvious!

JW: [Laughs] The weather is certainly a bonus! Mostly, I enjoy the new experience France brings; a new culture, learning a new language, meeting new people and seeing a new region. Newcastle is special in many ways, living in the scenic Northumberland countryside is fantastic as are the people and the energy they have.

Video: Jonny answering some quick fire questions. Get to know the true gent…

CB: Jonny, rugby players are generally thought of as rugged sportsmen. Have you noticed any change in the attitude of rugby players towards fashion and skin care? For example, seeing more men’s skin care products in the dressing rooms?

JW: I too had some preconceived ideas about rugby players, especially with my shirt being the number 10, did I have to be more presentable and bear a cleaner shirt? In all honesty, I was one of the last to get involved with skin care products but I’ve definitely got more into it and noticed players wash bags getting bigger with more products. The key for me is walking out on to the pitch feeling physically and mentally ready, being clean shaven and looking my best is part of taking care of myself and being ready, so I’m all for it.

CB: Shaving is one part of the grooming process in which all men have to partake. You appear on the most part to be clean shaven, what are your shaving products of choice? Do you use any other skin care products?

JW: I’m fortunate that I do some work with Gillette and I’ve had the benefit of their education. I always use their Gillette Fusion Power razor and more recently I’ve been using the new products in Gillette ShaveCare Range. The Thermal Scrub is great for getting skin ready for shaving, especially when you’ve had a hard game on the pitch. The Energising Moisturiser is the other one I tend to use as it cools after the shave and helps stop any dry skin. My wash bag isn’t the biggest in the dressing room but I’m starting to get more into it.

CB: And finally, if you had one piece of advice you could give to anyone, what would it be?

JW: I would have to say “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” by Gandi. Whatever change you want to see, it must start with you. In relation to rugby, it’s a case of thinking; what would the best in the world do? And then getting out on to the pitch and actually doing it. If you behave like you’re the best, does that not mean you are the best? I find this applies in life too not just rugby.

Ape to Gentleman would like to thank Jonny for his time and sincere and honest answers, wish him the best of luck against Cardiff and for the rest of his career – England needs him! I can also confirm that Jonny is certainly a gentleman, no ape and one of the most driven, humble and pleasant people you could wish to meet.

Video: Jonny Wilkinson Behind the Scenes…