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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Dallaglio ends Test career
Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence Dallaglio has called a shock end to his international career, stepping down as captain of England's rugby union team.

The 32-year-old said the "time was right to stand aside" after 10 years and 73 caps with the national side.

But he denied that there had been any rift with England coach Clive Woodward.

Favourites to replace him for November Tests against South Africa, Australia and Canada are Jonny Wilkinson, flanker Richard Hill and prop Phil Vickery.

There can be no greater honour or pride than to represent your country
Lawrence Dallaglio

"I've been very fortunate to have played with and against some of the greatest players the game has ever seen," said Dallaglio.

"And I feel after 10 years of being an England player the time is right to step aside.

"I've always felt that I would know, almost instinctively, when it was the right time to retire from playing for England. I honestly feel that time is now."

Dallaglio confirmed that he would honour the remaining two years of his club contract at Wasps.

But he admitted that playing for his country was the "greatest honour" and would not rule out playing for the Lions on their tour of New Zealand.

Lawrence was my first captain and he has always been an important and valued member of the squad
Sir Clive Woodward

"In my personal opinion there can be no greater honour or pride than to represent your country," said Dallaglio, a captain on 22 occasions.

"You live the dreams and aspirations of the whole nation and have the ability to inspire and enrich others.

"I've had that privilege 73 times and I would like to thank Sir Clive Woodward, the RFU and all the supporters and sponsors for all the support they have given me."

Woodward paid tribute to Dallaglio's contribution to rugby.

"Lawrence informed me of his decision and I fully understand his reasons," he said.

"He has been not only an outstanding player for England but a great captain and on behalf of all the England squad we wish him well as he continues his career.

"Lawrence was my first captain when I took over the role in September 1997 and he has always been an important and valued member of the squad."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Statement: England captain Lawrence Dallaglio



Interview: Lawrence Dallaglio



Report: Dallaglio quits England




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