June International Tours

Dallaglio backs Johnson to raise the bar with England



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Lawrence Dallaglio has backed new England boss Martin Johnson to raise the bar for England by instilling a set of “non-negotiable standards” into the set up.

Dallaglio was delivering the annual Obolensky Lecture in London, he said “things have not been the same” since Clive Woodward stood down as head coach in 2004.

“Martin Johnson knows what it takes to win,” said the former England star who won the World cup with Martin Johnson with England in the 2003 World Cup.

“Some non-negotiable standards have been missing from the England team over the last few years,” he is quoted by the BBC.

Dallaglio has now retired from playing rugby but said that the off field problems that plagued England on their recent tour to New Zealand in June are an example of how the standards have slipped.

Former England captain Dallaglio criticised the decision to allow the players to go drinking until early in the morning just hours after they lost 37-20 to the All Blacks.

What happened that night led to a police investigation after a New Zealand woman made allegations that were never proved.

The woman strangely made the allegations about four England players to the Police but refused to lay charges.

“Martin (Johnson) knows that if you lose (heavily) in New Zealand you don’t go out on the town,” he said.

Rob Andrew took charge of the England team in New Zealand as Martin Johnson wanted to stay at home for the birth of his child.

Steve Borthwick was made captain of the team but had support from a few senior players. When England won the world cup each facet of the team had a leader and Dallaglio believes that developing and growing that new leadership group is is one of the biggest challenges Johnson faces.

“This is the area in which I think England have had, and continue to have, concerns. It is an area that is really worrying for me,” he said.

Dallaglio also said that he feared that the professional game is producing players who have had few opportunities to develop life skills and personalities outside of rugby.

“Players (need) to have interests outside of the sport to provide the necessary balance and perspective,” said the former England skipper.

“Rugby players are not machines. The balance between work and life is key.”

When England were playing their best rugby there was a backbone of players with captaincy experience and leadership qualities and the new England team will need time to build experience like that again. .

Dallaglio said: “We developed leaders in specialist areas and leadership was clearly an integral part of our success. We had leaders and personalities all over the pitch.”



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