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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK

Sport: Rugby Union

Dallaglio faces 'drugs and disrepute' charges

Lawrence Dallaglio: Could be suspended beyond the World Cup

Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio is facing charges of bringing the game of rugby into disrepute and taking recreational drugs while on the British Lions tour of South Africa in 1997.

Dallaglio special report
All other charges have been dropped, including allegations that he dealt drugs before his career as a rugby international took off.

Responding to the Rugby Football Union's announcement, Dallaglio said: "I categorically deny the charges, but I will be cooperating fully with the panel and look forward to bringing the matter to a conclusion as soon as possible.

James Helm : "The player insisted that he lied to the reporter"
"At the request of the RFU, I will be making no further comment until the hearing has been concluded."

Dallaglio's place in the England World Cup squad is uncertain in light of the Rugby Football Union's decision to proceed with a disciplinary hearing.

10-week probe

He returned to the squad two weeks ago, but it is not known if he will stay with the pared-down 35-man group that is training under coach Clive Woodward this week.

The RFU's disciplinary officer, retired solicitor Roy Manock, recommended that Dallaglio should face two charges after examining the report made by the inquiry team under High Court judge Sir John Kay.

[ image:  ]
The Wasps star will answer the charges before a three-man RFU disciplinary panel and could be suspended beyond the end of the World Cup if found guilty.

The disciplinary team will be chaired by High Court judge Sir Oliver Popplewell with RFU Council members John Spencer and Keith Plain filling the remaining positions.

A date for the hearing has not yet been announced, but it is thought it will be soon.

The RFU's decision comes at the end of a 10-week probe into claims by the News of the World that Dallaglio had bragged about dealing drugs and taking Ecstacy and cocaine while on tour with the Lions in South Africa.

Rugby Union correspondent Alistair Hignell reports
The flanker resigned the England captaincy on 24 May - a day after the story was published - and issued a vehement denial of the allegations.

He said that he had lied when he gave details of drug-related activities to two reporters who were posing as agents offering him a lucrative sponsorship deal.

He did, however, admit to experimenting with drugs when he was younger - something that he "bitterly regretted".

'Honey trap'

The News of the World's case was undermined by its unwillingness to release an unedited version of the interview tape and its failure to name Dallaglio's two alleged British Lions accomplices.

The paper was also heavily criticised for its "honey-trap" tactics in acquiring the story.

The captaincy passed to former Lion's captain Martin Johnson when Dallaglio withdrew from England's five-week World Cup preparation tour to Australia and a centenary Test against the Wallabies.

Johnson will remain as captain for the duration of the competition, which takes place in October and November.

England squad

Backs: M Perry (Bath), N Beal (Northampton), T Stimpson (Leicester), A Healey (Leicester), L Lloyd (Leicester), D Luger (Saracens), D Rees (Sale), P de Glanville (Bath), W Greenwood (Leicester), M Catt (Bath), J Guscott (Bath), A King (Wasps), J Wilkinson (Newcastle), P Grayson (Northampton), M Dawson (Northampton), K Bracken (Saracens).

Forwards: J Leonard (Harlequins), G Rowntree (Leicester), T Woodman (Gloucester), D Garforth (Leicester), V Ubogu (Bath), P Vickery (Gloucester), P Greening (Sale), N McCarthy (Gloucester), R Cockerill (Leicester), M Johnson (Leicester, capt), T Rodber (Northampton), S Shaw (Wasps), D Grewcock (Saracens), B Clarke (Bath), J Worsley (Wasps), L Dallaglio (Wasps), N Back (Leicester), R Hill (Saracens), M Corry (Leicester).

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