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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK

Sport: Rugby Union

Rugby world united

Dallaglio sits with his legal team at the media conference

England's rugby union community closed ranks and pledged its support for Lawrence Dallaglio after he resigned as national captain.

Dallaglio special report
Dallaglio stood down as skipper following drug allegations in a Sunday tabloid newspaper.

The 26-year-old said he had been the naive victim of an elaborate trap.

And Dallaglio's rugby colleagues unanimously pledged their support for the England back row star, while his club, Wasps, vowed to back him "100 per cent".

[ image: Will Carling:
Will Carling: ""It doesn't fit with the man that I know"
Will Carling, a former England captain, gave his backing to his successor.

Carling, who was dismissed from the England squad for three days in 1995 for branding the Rugby Football Union (RFU) hierarchy a bunch of "old farts", said some people had problems with the success of others.

"We seem to want to find things wrong in our sports stars and certainly other people," he said.

"We don't seem to want to enjoy maybe the talent that they have or the success they bring. It's almost like we want to find flaws in them.

"None of us are perfect and sometimes I just think maybe we should just enjoy people's talent and not look for the flaws that are in all of us actually."

Club backing

Wasps Director of Rugby Nigel Melville: "He was being very honest"
Dallaglio's club Wasps pledged to support him "100 per cent".

Wasps manager Nigel Melville, also a former England captain, said he could "understand but not condone" Dallaglio taking drugs when he was younger - probably a reference to the flanker's grief after losing his sister Francesca in the Marchioness pleasure boat disaster when he was aged 16.

[ image: Nigel Melville:
Nigel Melville: "Dallalgio has been incredibly naive"
Melville said: "He has been incredibly naive in trying to impress reporters who were purporting to be something else.

"He has been magnificent in my four years at Wasps. I don't believe an international sportsman could perform at the highest level if he took drugs, but anyway Lawrence has been tested four times in the last year."

A club statement read: "We have no reason to disbelieve Lawrence's account of meetings he attended with what he believed to be representatives of Gillette.

"The only other account of these meetings that the club is aware of is the article published in the News of the World."

' A right prat'

Former England player Jeff Probyn: "He's still got a long way to go"
England coach, Clive Woodward, said Dallaglio had been "naive, stupid and a right prat" - but said he would stand behind his player.

"He has dropped everybody right in it, including himself," Woodward said, "but you don't ruin a guy's life for being stupid.

"I am supportive. It was brave of him to front up."

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