You are viewing the content for Monday 6 February 2006

Inspired Dallaglio cameo gives Robinson selection problems

England 47 Wales 13
LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO has done just about everything in a glittering rugby career.

But rarely can he have enjoyed a match more than England's 47-13 victory over Wales at Twickenham.

At least that is the way it seemed as Dallaglio, quite possibly the most interviewed substitute in sport, came out of international retirement to demonstrate the zest and enthusiasm of a wide-eyed rookie.

It is doubtful whether the England replacements' bench has ever sported a more enthusiastic cheer leader, the permanent grin on Dallaglio's face lighting up the Twickenham gloom.

It is doubtful too whether an England captain, namely Martin Corry, has ever been replaced by a man of such standing in the game.

Indeed, England coach Andy Robinson could have given himself something of a selection conundrum considering that Dallaglio's last 15 minutes after he had come on in the first half as a seven-minute blood replacement for Joe Worsley were spectacular to say the least.

The impetus he gave to the England side was immediate. The pick-up-and-drive try he scored was brilliant in its execution even if afterwards he was reluctant to overstate his own contribution.

"I was pleased with every try," said Dallaglio, who certainly celebrated all six with gusto. "I can't take too much credit for mine. It was a solid scrum, a good right-hand wheel and you've got to take the opportunity."

If Dallaglio himself was a little bashful then England centre Jamie Noon was less so in acknowledging Dallaglio's influence among his peers.

"He's a fantastic leader," said Noon. "He's proved it across the world for years and years. He came on and made a massive impact."

The problem for Robinson is that Corry is also a tremendous leader and while Dallaglio could play number six in place of Worsley, his most influential position is indisputably at number eight. The dilemma was put starkly to Corry. What was it like being hauled off and seeing your replacement play such a blinder?

"Lol's a quality player and he came on and put in a quality performance," said Corry. "But there are no egos in this squad." End of story.

Wales trailed 18-13 after 50 minutes but felt their game was just beginning to click into place when flanker

Martyn Williams was sin-binned for blocking Lewis Moody at a restart.

"It probably was the turning point in the game," he said. "It looks like we got a hiding but the game was on a knife-edge at 18-13.

"As players we felt, 'we are in this, we can win it' and if we got the next score we could have got the win.

"But we gave an initial three points away (after the yellow card) and they scored (through Mike Tindall) just as I was coming back on.

"The frustrating thing is he did me for a shoulder barge but I had my back to him. It definitely wasn't a shoulder barge. It was probably a penalty it was clumsy but not malicious.

"But it is not an excuse England were the better team. There were times when we were on top, but they were more clinical when they got their chances and finished them off."

But there is still the championship to play for and coach Mike Ruddock is not inclined to make wholesale changes ahead of next weekend's clash against the cock-a-hoop Scots at the Millennium Stadium.

Prop Adam Jones is undergoing treatment for a heamatoma but Ruddock hopes he will be available for next weekend, along with Gareth Delve who dropped out yesterday with a hamstring problem.

Bath scrum-half Andy Williams and Saracens prop Ben Broster are set to be called up as cover.

ENGLAND: Lewsey, Cueto, Noon, Tindall, Cohen, Hodgson, Ellis, Sheridan, Thompson, Stevens, Borthwick, Grewcock, Worsley, Moody, Corry.

Replacements: Voyce for Lewsey (21), Goode for Hodgson (74), Dawson for Ellis (73), White for Sheridan (69), Mears for Thompson (65), Shaw for Grewcock (73), Dallaglio for Corry (65).

WALES: G. Thomas, M. Jones, Luscombe, Watkins, S. Williams, S. Jones, Peel, D. Jones, R. Thomas, A. Jones, Gough, Sidoli, Charvis, M. Williams, Owen, Cooper.

Replacements: Cooper for Peel (66), Jenkins for A. Jones (60), A. Jones for Gough (66), Popham for Charvis (72), Byrne for Cooper (80).

Referee: P Honiss (New Zealand).