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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2007, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Dallaglio 'will lift England bid'
Jonny Wilkinson in action for England against South Africa last month
Wilkinson led England on their recent South Africa tour
Jonny Wilkinson believes Lawrence Dallaglio will help raise standards as England head to Portugal on Monday for a 12-day World Cup training camp.

The former captain has been recalled to a 46-man squad, minus the injured Mike Tindall, travelling to the Algarve.

"He brings a huge amount of experience but also mental and physical toughness. His presence and aura has been well earned," Wilkinson told BBC Five Live.

"He pushes people to new levels whether it is in training drills or meetings."

Wilkinson and Dallaglio were both key components of a squad that four years ago started their World Cup preparations as the world's number one team after a Six Nations Grand Slam and summer Test victories in New Zealand and Australia.

This time they are ranked seventh in the world, having lost 22 of their last 37 Tests, and have just returned from two 50-point thrashings by the Springboks, their main World Cup pool opponents once again.

The effect of the big guys we have got coming back from Wasps, Leicester and Bath is going to be huge

Jonny Wilkinson
"It is a different approach this time because of the situation we are in, which is totally understandable, and not the sort of thing to be afraid of saying," Wilkinson noted.

"Four years ago we had the momentum of a full year behind us with hardly a defeat, whereas this year we have had to fight hard for what we have got.

"But that has been massively effective in terms of our learning, which will continue to have to be quick.

"As we stand, I have felt nothing but positivity from the end of the South Africa tour, and the effect of the big guys we have got coming back from Wasps, Leicester and Bath is going to be huge.


"We have got two-and-half months together now, and you just don't get that sort of time together as an international team.

"Normally you get a couple of days here and there between club games.

"But we have got this period and we are going to use it well, hopefully better than the other teams. If we prepare well we have got nothing to lose."

While the World Cup-winning fly-half's place in Brian Ashton's final 30-man squad, to be finalised by 14 August, is assured, fitness permitting, the Portugal camp is a key stage for others aiming to prove fitness or form.

The likes of Bristol number eight Dan Ward-Smith, Sale duo Charlie Hodgson and Andrew Sheridan, Gloucester full-back Olly Morgan and London Irish centre Mike Catt are all returning from long spells of injury-enforced inactivity.

  • Wilkinson was speaking at a launch of the Travelex Sport Exchange initiative, aimed at giving talented British athletes the chance of first-class training at top venues around the globe.

    Dallaglio should play - Woodward
    17 Jun 07 |  English
    Dallaglio makes training squad
    15 Jun 07 |  English
    Ashton unsure of World Cup team
    03 Jun 07 |  Rugby Union
    South Africa 55-22 England
    02 Jun 07 |  Rugby Union
    South Africa 58-10 England
    26 May 07 |  English


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