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Page last updated at 22:27 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 23:27 UK

Dallaglio backs Johnson influence

Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio
Johnson (left) and Dallaglio played in the recent Help for Heroes match

Lawrence Dallaglio says Martin Johnson will instil a set of "non-negotiable standards" into the England set-up.

Delivering the annual Obolensky Lecture in London, Dallaglio said "things have not been the same" since Clive Woodward stood down as head coach in 2004.

"Martin Johnson knows what it takes to win," said the former Wasps star who helped England lift the 2003 World Cup.

"Some non-negotiable standards have been missing from the England team over the last few years," he claimed.

Dallaglio, who retired at the end of last season, used the off-field problems which hit England on the summer tour to New Zealand as an example of how standards have dropped.

He criticised the decision to allow the players to go drinking until the early hours after losing the first Test 37-20 - an evening which led to a police investigation after a local woman made unproven allegations against four members of the squad.

"Martin (Johnson) knows that if you lose (heavily) in New Zealand you don't go out on the town," he said.

Players (need) to have interests outside of the sport to provide the necessary balance and perspective

Lawrence Dallaglio

A lack of leadership was blamed for England's problems in New Zealand. Steve Borthwick was captain of a squad with few senior players to act as mentors to the younger ones.

Dallaglio believes growing that leadership group is one of the biggest challenges Johnson faces as the new England manager.

"This is the area in which I think England have had, and continue to have, concerns. It is an area that is really worrying for me," he said.

Dallaglio fears the professional game is producing players who have had few opportunities to develop life skills and personalities outside of rugby.

When England won the 2003 World Cup, the team had a backbone of players with captaincy experience and leadership qualities - the likes of Dallaglio, Johnson, Matt Dawson, Jason Leonard, Neil Back and Richard Hill.

Dallaglio said: "We developed leaders in specialist areas and leadership was clearly an integral part of our success. We had leaders and personalities all over the pitch."

He added the need to ensure England's rugby stars are well-rounded personalities is being exacerbated by their increasingly high media profiles.

"Players (need) to have interests outside of the sport to provide the necessary balance and perspective," said the former England skipper.

"Rugby players are not machines. The balance between work and life is key."

see also
England return to World Cup base
22 Aug 08 |  English
Johnson lays down law to England
14 Aug 08 |  English
Johnson adds to management team
05 Aug 08 |  English
Brown & Ojo guilty of misconduct
10 Jul 08 |  English
England 'needed Johnson example'
23 Jun 08 |  English
England four in NZ assault probe
20 Jun 08 |  UK News

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