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Last Updated:  Sunday, 30 March, 2003, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
Dallaglio proves doubters wrong
By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport at Lansdowne Road

Lawrence Dallaglio's display were criticised earlier this season
Lawrence Dallaglio consoles Brian O'Driscoll after the game

Lawrence Dallaglio believes England can only get better in the build-up to the World Cup in Australia later this year.

The England number 8 turned in a supreme try-scoring performance to bounce back to his best as an awesome England clinically took Ireland apart in the Six Nations Grand Slam decider in Dublin.

The veteran of 56 caps described the five-try demolition as "the perfect pick-me-up" for some very difficult months ahead.

"It's just what this squad deserves, and it will stand to us in what will be a massive year.

"Winning the Grand Slam is the perfect platform for us. You are judged on the games you win, and up until Sunday we had not won much to be honest.

"In 30-odd games we have probably lost only four, so yes it was a massive game, and yes we can go upwards and onwards.

We kept ourselves to ourselves when we arrived in Dublin
Lawrence Dallaglio

"We face a very tough tour in the summer, and what's further ahead in Australia but at least we can go there with a bit of confidence knowing that we can go away from home and win.

"Let's face it. This was a Grand Slam decider. It was a massive game, and we won 42-6. So people can read into that what they want," said Dallaglio who cast aside the huge interest surrounding the Dublin decider.

"There was a tremendous amount of hype and mainly put up by the people in Ireland," said Dallaglio.

"The expectation of this Irish team is not what it was two or three years ago.

"But quite rightly, I suppose. There was a lot of talk simply because of the momentum the Irish team had gained in the campaign.

"You not only have to absorb the hype, but also focus on what your job is. In the build up to this we were able to do that.

I felt I had to prove people wrong - I think I did that
Lawrence Dallaglio

"We stayed over in England until Thursday and really we kept ourselves to ourselves when we arrived in Dublin.

"There is a lot of experience in the team and we knew it was going to be very tough, and it was.

"But we rode the pressure very well towards the end of the first half and then upped the pace in the second.

"I was up in the stands 18 months ago watching Ireland defeat England and it was a very disappointing day for everyone involved.

"It was nice to be part of that win today.

"It was something special, particularly since it was a long time coming," said the Wasps star who was stung by some criticism of his play earlier in the season.

"Yes, I enjoyed it out there today. I felt good. I felt I had to prove people wrong. I think I did that."




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