Front Page







World News in Audio

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Friday, March 6, 1998 Published at 18:55 GMT

Sport: Rugby Union

Players' dilemma: club or country?
image: [ Clive Woodward: reputedly offered Lawrence Dallaglio £1m to play exclusively for England ]
Clive Woodward: reputedly offered Lawrence Dallaglio £1m to play exclusively for England

The ruck between English rugby clubs and the national team has moved a step closer to a pitched battle.

All 12 teams in the Premier League have refused to back the England coach's plans for a summer tour of the southern hemisphere nations.

In return, Clive Woodward is apparently trying to tempt England captain Lawrence Dallaglio with the offer of a £1m full-time contract.

Dallaglio himself played down the rumours, insisting his team, Wasps, would let him go on tour.

"My position remains a matter for the coach Clive Woodward. But if selected I will be available and whether I go or not will be my decision alone," he said.

"I am not speaking for anyone else, but I have a contract with Wasps that releases me for England duty."

English First Division Rugby Limited, which represents the 12 teams in the premiership, attacked Woodward for issuing ultimatums to his squad.

He had warned his players they risked losing their places for the rest of the Five Nations Championship if they refused to tour with England in the summer.

First Division said it supported the move by Northampton owner Keith Barwell, who withdrew Saints' British Lions trio Tim Rodber, Paul Grayson and Matt Dawson from the Test.

Only Northampton and Saracens players currently require team permission to join the national tour.

The First Division Chief Executive, Doug Ash, said: "This is one tour too many.

"It is a punishing schedule of four internationals being played in three time-zones after a very gruelling season.

"A number of our players require operations this summer - we are concerned about their welfare, and also the specific demands put on international players."

Ash became angry when told Rugby Football Union was also trying to get Wigan player Gary Connolly to sign an exclusive contract.

"That's totally ridiculous," he said. "We are clearly going to have to ask the RFU to explain such moves.

"Where do they expect him to play his club rugby? He cannot just play a few internationals a year for England."

The Leicester Chief Executive, Peter Wheeler, added: "We fully support Northampton's initiative in the interests of their players' welfare.

"We believe that a summer's rest will be the best preparation for England in their endeavours to win the 1999 World Cup."

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

Relevant Stories

05 Mar 98†|†Sport
Play or be dropped, Woodward warns

Internet Links

Rugby Football Union


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

European Cup starts with a bang

Cooke blasts RFU 'puppets'

The wizards of Oz

Aussies given Jones-Hughes ultimatum

Woodward stays in England role

Skrela steps down as French coach

Gloucester face west-country clash

Gloucester stun expectant Sarries

Countdown to Europe

Lomu staying with All Blacks

Bath embarrass Newcastle

Quins scrape late win

All-whites fall to Jenkins points haul

Same old problem for Joost

Wasps reject Saracens bid

Rugby chiefs opt for fresh start

Wage cap threatens Lomu signing

Horan invited back to Cardiff

Aussies crowned world champions

Sarries swat Wasps to go top

Rugby World Cup: Must try harder

Quins steal Irish thunder

Horan named top World Cup player

Bedford go down fighting

Rugby Union Contents