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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Dallaglio denies 'divisive' claim
Josh Lewsey, Lawrence Dallaglio and England captain Phil Vickery
Dallaglio (centre) believes he has a lot to offer to England
Lawrence Dallaglio has rejected the suggestion by former captain Will Carling his presence in England's World Cup squad might affect team spirit.

"I'm just not a divisive person," said the 35-year-old former captain.

"I've been brought in for the things I can do, and that includes bringing people together rather than splitting them apart.

"I'm not too worried about what Will thinks. His comment was almost so irrelevant as not to be worth reading."

Carling told BBC Radio 5live earlier this week: "Sometimes the nature of someone like Lawrence can be a problem in a squad if he's not a captain and there are not very strong guys to keep him in check.


"They are obviously not going to make him captain at the World Cup. And if you take him, does he end up being divisive if he's not in the team?"

Dallaglio, who captained England from 1997 to 1999 and also in 2004, responded: "I always thought Will was a decent bloke. I'm not sure now.

"It's hard to know where he has got that kind of assessment from, given that he is standing a long, long way away from the squad."

Andy Farrell was another controversial World Cup selection at centre, after the 32-year-old former Great Britain rugby league captain endured two years of injuries before making his union debut only last September.

He said: "The World Cup was hard to think of some times, but I never gave up hope. Once I was fit and able, it was always a goal of mine to try and achieve.

I don't think I've ever been as in control or ready to go and prepared as I am right now physically

Jonny Wilkinson

"Yes, there were times I would think it was getting out of my hands, but thankfully I am now fit and things are moving in the right direction.

"The good thing for me is that I am back playing again and enjoying myself, and I am excited about that."

England play France on Saturday in their final warm-up match before the World Cup begins on 7 September.

And Jonny Wilkinson insists they will not be over-reliant on forward power when they defend the title they won in Australia in 2003, although he admits the balance between forward and back play still needs to be fine-tuned.

"Rugby nowadays, there's no way of winning without the whole game in place," Wilkinson told 5live Sport.

"There's no way any team can go with a single-minded, one-dimensional game plan and try to win.

"Teams are too able and adept at changing tactics, spotting weaknesses and spotting predictability and snuffing it out and almost attacking that predictability.

"When you haven't got a Plan B you're in trouble."

He added: "Undoubtedly the balance is there but when you're playing the game on the field you have to abide by what's working.

"There's no point in having variety for variety's sake, or balance for balance's sake. We've maybe got to make more decisions on the run as we're going.

"Sides are adept at changing things and moving things around - we need to be capable of doing that.

"But at the same time we're very, very pleased with how we've been able to implement certain parts of the game in a very short time."

As for criticism of Brian Ashton's squad as being a 'Dad's Army' with an average age of 29, Wilkinson is not concerned.

"These guys are in great physical condition," he said. "I'd say that if you spoke to them, most of them would say they are better than they've ever been. That speaks for itself.

"It's very much an individual thing but I can tell you for myself that with all of the injuries I've had, I don't think I've ever been as in control or ready to go and prepared as I am right now physically.

"That's a positive for us to feed off and hopefully there are a few good years ahead of me as well."

France ring changes for England
14 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton content with 'Dad's Army'
14 Aug 07 |  English
Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup
13 Aug 07 |  English


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