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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK


Sport: Rugby Union

Dallaglio: English rugby's rose

Lawrence Dallaglio: Forced to stand down as England captain

When the tabloid press levelled drug allegations at Lawrence Dallaglio, it came as a massive shock to rugby fans the world over.

At the time, the then England captain was perhaps the most respected man in the domestic game and had won admiration for his ability to remain composed on the field as well as off.


[ image: Only a shock defeat to Wales prevented Dallalgio from lifting the Five Nations trophy]
Only a shock defeat to Wales prevented Dallalgio from lifting the Five Nations trophy
Among all others Dallaglio was the player who had helped drag the game's image into the modern, professional era.

The 6ft 4in flanker's charm, coupled with undoubted athleticism and skill on the field, had helped him to become the highest earning player in the sport.

His clean-cut image was undoubtedly of importance when he was awarded the England captaincy - and although he faced controversy in the past, it had previously been for events on, and not off, the field.

A player in demand

Last year Dallaglio faced shouts of "Judas" from disgruntled Wasps fans, amid rumours he had been offered a rival £1m contract by the sport's governing body, the Rugby Football Union.

He also forced the club to agree to a clause in his contract limiting his commitment to 35 games per year after a niggling shoulder injury kept him out of England's controversial 1998 Southern Hemisphere tour.


[ image: Dallaglio played a vital role in the Lions' success in South Africa]
Dallaglio played a vital role in the Lions' success in South Africa
But the bulk of the comment about Dallaglio had usually been about his precocious talent - he captained Wasps at the age of 23 and England only two years later.

Dallaglio's international career started in 1992 when he played in the Dubai Sevens.

He was also part of England's World Cup Sevens-winning team at Murrayfield a year later.

In 1994 he broke into the full England squad when he toured South Africa - and in November 1995 he made his Test debut, replacing Tim Rodber against South Africa at Twickenham.

One year later he was named in the British Lions' squad to tour South Africa.

He played a key role in all three Lions Tests and arrived home a hero after an historic 2-1 series victory.

'I like a good time'

Before his resignation as skipper, Dallaglio was well known for his lack of pomposity.

Favoured by journalists and the public for his no-nonsence, straightforward approach, he was renowned for his honesty.


[ image: Dallalgio:
Dallalgio: "You've got to have the occasional breakout"
"You've got to have the occasional breakout, just for your sanity, " Dallaglio once said.

"It doesn't suit everyone but if you like a good time then it would be madness to cut yourself off completely.

"You' d soon be stale or bitter and frustrated. It's all a question of moderation and balance. And, naturally, of putting in the hard yards the next day."

Back in May, when the allegations were made, it looked like those words could come back to haunt him.

The man so-often portayed as English rugby's rose needed to muster all his strength of character to shake off the drug controversy.

The storm threatened to bring his short, but promising captaincy, to a premature and shameful end.

But, as he pleaded innocence and the drugs charges were dropped, his career was salvaged - even if his leadership of the team had to be sacrificed.





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