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Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dallaglio urges England patience

By Simon Austin & Phil Harlow

Scrum-half Danny Care
Scrum-half Danny Care, 21, is part of an inexperienced England team

Lawrence Dallaglio says the current England team must be given time to develop into champions - just like the 2003 World Cup-winning side were.

Dallaglio led England to a then-record home defeat by South Africa in 1997, but eight members of that team went on to triumph in Sydney six years later.

"People have very short memories," Dallaglio told BBC Sport.

"England will get better and they will win, but people need to recognise that it won't happen overnight."

England have been lambasted following their 42-6 demolition by South Africa last Saturday.

But former England captain Dallaglio sees parallels with 1997, when a young side under the charge of new coach Clive Woodward were beaten 29-11 by the Springboks at Twickenham.

"Some of the team that lost in 1997 went on and won the World Cup in 2003," he said.

"In fact it took me two or three attempts before I eventually beat South Africa and the same with Australia.

"It might take six months, it might take 12 months, it might take longer for this side to succeed.

ENGLAND V S AFRICA, 29/11/97 (2003 World Cup winners in caps)
Matt Dawson played against New Zealand in 1997
Matt Perry (aged 20)
John Bentley (31)
Nick Greenstock (24)
WILL GREENWOOD (25)
David Rees (23)
MIKE CATT (26)
MATT DAWSON (25)
JASON LEONARD (29)
Richard Cockerill (26)
Darren Garforth (31)
Garath Archer (22)
DANNY GREWCOCK (25)
RICHARD HILL (24)
NEIL BACK (27)
LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO (25)

"But we have to be patient and stick with the players we've got. There will be some casualties along the way and there will be one or two players who emerge and prove a great success.

"But we have to stick with these players and we'll get there in the end. There's absolutely no doubt about that."

Dallaglio, 36, said he thought South Africa were "the best post World Cup-winning side I've seen for a long time" and "certainly better than England after 2003".

And he backed England manager Martin Johnson, who succeeded him as skipper of the national side in 1999, to get things right.

"I think people expect Martin Johnson to change things overnight," the former England number eight said.

"I have no doubt that England will change and improve - it just won't happen straight away.

"England will get better and they will win, but very few things in life are instantly successful.

"Long-term success doesn't generally happen in the space of two or three matches, particularly when you're playing three of the best teams in the world.

"The schedule we've had this autumn has been pretty brutal, but in the next six months, England will know a lot more as a team.

"For most of these guys, it's the first time they would have played against southern hemisphere teams.

"There were changes for the first game against the Pacific Islanders - there was a new number nine, 10, 11, 12 and 15 and a new coach.

606: DEBATE

"When you make that many changes against the three best teams in the world it's always going to be very difficult. People have to be realistic."

Dallaglio, who is now an associate director at Wasps after retiring from playing at the end of last season, says it "was not a huge surprise" that former team-mate Danny Cipriani has been dropped from the side to face New Zealand.

But he was not expecting another member of the Wasps side, open-side flanker Tom Rees, to be jettisoned.

"If I left Twickenham with anything on Saturday, it was that Tom Rees was one of the few positives for England," he admitted.

Lawrence Dallaglio
Tom Rees was one of the few positives for England last Saturday

Lawrence Dallaglio

"But the coaches maybe want to have a look at Michael Lipman and I suppose if you want to have a look at these players, now is the time to do it.

"Unless several players go out and play outstandingly well on Saturday, all the places in next season's Six Nations are up for grabs."

And Dallaglio backed England skipper Steve Borthwick, who has come in for personal criticism following England's heavy defeats by Australia and South Africa in the last couple of weeks.

"Steve Borthwick is a very intense rugby player who is very passionate about what he does," he said.

"Had Martin Johnson gone for somebody a bit younger and results had gone the same way, what would that have done for that player's confidence?

"Borthwick has been around long enough to be able to take whatever happens to him on the chin and move on. He's an experienced player and I think he's a super rugby player.

"Everybody should get behind the captain and not undermine him or question whether he was the right appointment."

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see also
Cipriani axed from England team
25 Nov 08 |  English
Honeymoon over for Johnson
23 Nov 08 |  English
Boks loss humiliating - Woodward
24 Nov 08 |  English
England 6-42 South Africa
22 Nov 08 |  English
Johnson says defeat was 'brutal'
22 Nov 08 |  English


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