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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK


Sport: Rugby Union

Dallaglio vows to return

Thirsty work: Dallaglio takes a break during his news conference

Former England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio came out fighting on Tuesday, denying drugs allegations and promising to resurrect his international career.

Dallaglio special report
Strenuously defending himself against reports that he had taken and dealt drugs, Dallaglio said he had been "foolish and naive" in lying to undercover reporters from the News of the World.

At a news conference at Twickenham, he admitted experimenting with drugs in his late teens, something he now bitterly regretted.

But he strongly denied taking drugs during his rugby career.


BBC Sports Correspondent Neil Bennett: "It's too early to say if this is the end of Lawrence Dallaglio's career"
Dallaglio - who resigned as captain on Monday and ruled himself out of England's tour to Australia - said he had fabricated stories to impress the reporters.

They had told him they were executives offering a sponsorship deal involving rugby in inner city areas.

But he refused to talk about allegations of sexual misconduct and hurriedly brought the news conference to a close when the matter was raised.


[ image:  ]
Appearing close to tears, Dallaglio told the media of the newspaper's "elaborate effort" to trap him.

They had produced business cards and fax numbers and convinced him they were from a company acting for razor manufacturer Gillette UK.

He said he was very interested in their offer of £500,000 to help promote his sport in less privileged areas, and explained that their questioning turned to the subject of drugs as they discussed inner city problems.


BBC Rugby Correspondent Ian Robertson: "Many questions remain unanswered"
"Everything that I've been quoted as saying I must believe I said," he admitted.

"But I would like to add I was naive and foolish, and I was following a line of questioning which was instigated by the reporters.

"I lied to these people. I made up stories to impress these people. A lot of it was fabrication and I'm sure a lot of what they said was fabrication."


[ image:  ]
He said he could "give no justification" for this but pointed to numerous negative random drug tests, including one on Monday, as evidence of his innocence.

Dallaglio, who passed a drugs test on Monday, said he was not proud of using drugs in his younger days.

"I bitterly regret experimenting and although it was a long time ago I want the message today to be that I am totally anti-drugs," he said.

No drugs on tour

The Wasps player also dismissed the News of the World's suggestion that he had named two British Lions team-mates as having taken Ecstasy with him on a 1997 tour.

"Whatever names are thrown into the ring I don't know of any colleague or team-mates who have ever taken drugs and that continues to be the case," he said.


Lawrence Dallaglio: "I've got to be open and honest"
He explained that his decision to resign was to avoid creating a "major distraction" to the trip and also to protect his family.

"I feel totally humiliated and want to acknowledge that now.


Lawrence Dallaglio: "I would dearly love to resume my career"
"However I have not lied to my family, I have not lied to the RFU, I have not lied to Wasps, my club, and I am not going to lie to you here today.

He hoped that his career could be rebuilt: "Rugby has given me a tremendous purpose in my life and I desperately want that to continue."


The news conference comes to an abrupt end
Andrew Morris, a representative of Dallaglio's agents In Touch Management said legal action against the paper was a possibility.

The News of the World said Dallaglio's claim that he was lying was "frankly astonishing".

A statement from the paper said: "Given the tone, length and detail of his taped admissions of drug dealing and drug abuse in South Africa we are frankly astonished that he is claiming that all of this was a spur of the moment invention."

The paper said it had agreed to the RFU's request to make its evidence available to investigators.

It also said it was considering publishing more revelations about Dallaglio and his colleagues.



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