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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 November 2007, 12:09 GMT
Dallaglio ponders Test career end
Lawrence Dallaglio
Dallaglio has won 85 England caps and played in three World Cups
Lawrence Dallaglio insists he will not retire from England duty for a second time but admits he may have played his final Test in the World Cup final.

"If that is my last game, someone has a sense of humour ensuring I leave by the door I entered," he said, having also made his debut against South Africa.

"I have got one more season with Wasps and an opportunity to extend that contract - either myself or the club.

"But what I need to do is get my head down and do my talking on the pitch."

Dallaglio, 35, was referring to the furore his criticism of England head coach Brian Ashton has created over the past week.

The problems England have had didn't start in the Brian Ashton regime

Lawrence Dallaglio
The Wasps skipper, who won his 85th cap when he came on against the Springboks, putting him level with Rory Underwood as England's second highest cap holder behind Jason Leonard (114), admits he "only has himself to blame for any trouble he has created".

He has phoned Ashton to talk about his outspoken comments, but says the details of their conversation will remain private.

"My comments came at a time when the dust had not yet settled on the World Cup campaign and the timing of them were unfortunate," he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"But my book was not written to criticise the World Cup, it is a small part of what has been a long journey.

"I have always tried to be open and honest and give an opinion, and you have to be sensitive about the way you say things. Possibly the way this has all come about hasn't been entirely sensitive but that is not something I was able to control to a degree."

Dallaglio said the England players were left feeling like a "pub team" at times and said "head coach of the England team demands management skills that Brian does not have".

"I enjoyed working with all the coaches in the World Cup and I don't want people to think, just because of what they have read, that I came back a bitter player for my experience," he added.

"I actually refer to Brian Ashton (in his book) as a very good coach, and I have always maintained that was the case.

"Unfortunately he was thrown into a role as head coach that I don't think he necessarily wanted straightaway.

World Cups tend to be a watershed for a lot of people - players and caoches

Lawrence Dallaglio
"The problems England have had didn't start in the Brian Ashton regime, they started after the last World Cup.

"It has been a difficult four years for English rugby and ultimately we ended up producing a very credible defence of our trophy.

"We achieved a degree of success very much against the odds. But that should not stop us from having the ability to examine ourselves and ask: 'Are we moving forward in the right direction'?

"World Cups tend to be a watershed for a lot of people - players, many of whom tend to retire, and possibly coaches as well. There is nothing wrong with having a review, and that is under way now."

The Rugby Football Union's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew is canvassing opinion from players - via anonymous questionnaires - and coaches as part of his review of England's management set-up.

He is expected to report his findings to the RFU management board's next scheduled meeting on 26 November, with Ashton's future still in doubt.

The agent of South Africa's World Cup-winning coach Jake White revealed on Sunday he had already been in contact with Andrew.

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31 Aug 04 |  Internationals


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