Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence Dallaglio 2006.jpg
Full name Lorenzo Bruno Nero Dallaglio
Date of birth August 10, 1972 (1972-08-10) (age 39)
Place of birth Shepherd's Bush, London
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight 17 st 9 lb (112 kg)
School King's House School
Ampleforth College
University Kingston University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Flanker or Number eight
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1990–2008 Wasps FC / London Wasps
correct as of 2008-05-31.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1997, 2001, 2005
British Lions
correct as of 2008-01-04.

Lorenzo Bruno Nero "Lawrence" Dallaglio, OBE (born August 10, 1972, in London) is a retired English rugby union player and former captain of the English national team. He played as a flanker or number eight for London Wasps and never played for another club, having arrived at Sudbury as a teenager. He was capped in all three positions in the back row, and captained England until a newspaper scandal forced his resignation from that role.



Lawrence Dallaglio was a key member of the England team that won the 2003 Rugby World Cup and was re-appointed as captain after Martin Johnson retired. In August 2004, Dallaglio announced his retirement from the national team due to the brutal demands of international rugby but after being selected for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand he changed his mind and made himself available for international selection again. He was a member of England's squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup and made a late appearance as a substitute in the final, winning his 85th cap. On 3 January 2008, Dallaglio announced that he was retiring from international rugby with immediate effect and from domestic rugby at the end of the current season; he also stated that he would like to take up coaching in the future. In a fairy-tale end to his career, Wasps won the 2008 Guinness Premiership Final on 31 May 2008 in front of a capacity crowd of 81,600 at Twickenham, then a world Rugby Union record attendance for a club match.[1]

Early life

Dallaglio, was born in Shepherd's Bush, London. He was educated at King's House School in Richmond and at Ampleforth College, one of the leading Roman Catholic boarding schools in England, where he was affectionately known as "Del Boy", (though he actually attained his A-levels at The Oxford School of Learning), and at Kingston University to study Property Development.

In 1985, as a 13-year-old chorister in the King's House School choir, Dallaglio and 20 other choristers sang backing vocals on the song "We Don't Need Another Hero" by Tina Turner. This only became known in 2005, when the Musicians' Union, having realised that the choristers had not been paid royalties on the record, attempted to track them down. As part of the same choir, Dallaglio sang at the wedding of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.[2]

Because Dallaglio's father, Vincenzo, is Italian, and his mother, Eileen, was half Irish,[3] he was eligible to play for both Italy and Ireland, as well as England, and in the early 1990s he turned down an invitation to play for Ireland.[4]

His sister Francesca, a 19-year-old student ballerina, died in the Marchioness disaster in 1989.


Dallaglio was a member of the inaugural World Cup Sevens-winning squad with England in 1993. He was then a surprise choice for the 1994 England tour to South Africa. Yet the following winter he was not guaranteed a place in Wasps' back-row. The following season he became club captain when Dean Ryan and Rob Andrew left for Newcastle in October 1995, taking four experienced players with him. Dallaglio held the team together and 12 months later led Wasps to the first professional English league title.

He made his debut for England in November 1995 as a substitute against the Springboks and toured South Africa as a member of the 1997 British & Irish Lions squad.

He was given the England captaincy in the autumn of 1997 by new coach Clive Woodward, taking over from Phil de Glanville. The other candidate for the job, Martin Johnson, had led the Lions tour, but Dallaglio was preferred.

Dallaglio continued to play for England, especially in the number eight position, forming — with Neil Back and Richard Hill — the Hill, Back, Dallaglio back-row trio affectionately nicknamed the Holy Trinity.

Dallaglio had a good season in 1999–2000, when he regained the club captaincy. Although Wasps' league form was disappointing, Dallaglio led them to the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup and to a second successive Tetley's Bitter Cup victory.

After another strong season in 2000–01, he was selected for his second Lions tour, but an injury in the last game of the domestic season, against Bath, meant he was doubtful for the trip to Australia. The Lions passed him fit but the knee gave way in a mid-week match, cutting short his tour and forcing him to undergo reconstructive surgery.

Dallaglio was a key member of the 2003 England Grand Slam and World Cup-winning side, being the only player to play in every minute of England's World Cup campaign. He regained the captaincy in 2004 after Johnson's retirement from international rugby,[5] but without Johnson the team played poorly, and Dallaglio announced his retirement from international rugby on 31 August 2004.

Despite his international retirement, Dallaglio was called up for his third Lions tour in 2005 but he fractured his ankle during the first tour match, against Bay of Plenty on 4 June, and did not play again during the tour.

At the end of 2005, Dallaglio announced that he was making himself available again for England selection and he was included in the squad for the 2006 Six Nations Championship. He was named on the bench for England's opening match of the tournament against Wales on 4 February at Twickenham. He was a blood replacement for clubmate Joe Worsley after 13 minutes and on 64 minutes was a replacement for Martin Corry, touching down with a clinically executed charge from the back of the scrum on 70 minutes. He gained three more caps off the bench during the tournament, but did not play in the last game of the championship, when England lost 28–24 to Ireland.

Dallaglio returned from an ankle injury early in the 2006–07 domestic season to reclaim the club captaincy at Wasps, but an indifferent Guinness Premiership season ended with them failing to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since the introduction of the knockout system. However, Dallaglio and his teammates saved their best performances for the Heineken Cup; he led the club to its second European championship win on 20 May 2007. The final, played at Twickenham, set a world record for the highest attendance figure for a club rugby match (at around 82,000)[citation needed]. Wasps' opponents, Leicester Tigers had already won the EDF Energy Cup and the Guinness Premiership trophies) and were favourites to achieve an unprecedented Treble, especially as they had beaten Wasps 40–26 at Welford Road less than a month earlier, but it was Wasps who emerged as victors, winning the game 25–9.

Everyone was telling us this was the best Leicester team ever, so that must make us the best Wasps team ever. To win this competition once is fantastic, so I'm delighted to win it again, and it puts us in a very elite group of clubs who have done that. It shows what we are about. Leicester Tigers have had a fantastic season and the strength and depth to compete on three fronts. They have done that fantastically well, but we targeted this competition at the start of the season and we've won. The way you win these games is with belief. We had the media saying we were second best in the scrum, line out, defence and the back three, but we had belief in our team and I think that's half the battle against Leicester. I think we showed maturity in the way we played in the second half to make sure Leicester didn't score a single point let alone a try, and that says everything about our defence. If you defend well at the highest level you win trophies.
—Lawrence Dallaglio, speaking after Wasps' 2007 Heineken Cup final win.

In the following season he joined London Wasps late because of the Rugby World Cup. He returned to find London Wasps struggling near the bottom of the Guinness Premiership. Wasps fortunes quickly changed. They made it through the group in the EDF Cup, and started climbing up the table. despite this good form in domestic competitions, they narrowly failed to make it out of their Heineken Cup group. They lost out to Munster, the eventual winners, but could have made it out if they had beaten them in Ireland in the final matchday of pool play.

They soon hit top form in the Premiership, winning game after game. They reached the play-offs and drew a home match against Bath. They won the game 21-6, but lost rising star Danny Cipriani to a injury. Leicester Tigers beat Gloucester to qualify for the Premiership final. This match was to be Lawrence Dallaglio's last ever match, and it was to be played in front of a capacity crowd of 81,600 at Twickenham. They were made to fight, but eventually won 26-16. Dallalgio later claimed it was Wasps' greatest Premiership title, noting the damaging effect the Rugby World Cup had on their squad.

In the 67th minute of the Premiership final, he was substituted, and received a standing ovation by the sell out crowd.

Lawrence made a sly appearance, at blindside flanker, for London Wasps "A" Team in the Guinness A League on 8 September 2008. He was getting game time before he captained an England XV for the Help For Heroes game at Twickenham on 20 September later that month.

Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[6]

He has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Buckinghamshire New University for services to sport. The Doctorate was conferred on 12 September 2008.

Lawrence has continued to play an active part in the sport since his retirement through his appointment as rugby ambassador for Greene King IPA, the Official Beer of England Rugby.

He was an analyst for ITV's coverage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He co-commentated with Nick Mullins in the semi final between Australia and New Zealand.

2007 Rugby World Cup

On 15 June 2007, Dallaglio was one of 47 players chosen by England coach Brian Ashton to attend a pre-World Cup training camp and he was later named in the 30-man World Cup squad, alongside Joe Worsley and Jason Robinson, who were also veterans of England's 2003 Rugby World Cup success. Dallaglio said "The fans can expect this England team to give absolutely everything and play with an enormous amount of passion and pride."[7]

England started poorly in the tournament, with an unconvincing 28–10 victory over the United States and a 36–0 loss to eventual champions South Africa. Dallaglio started the first game at number eight, but was dropped for the South Africa match in favour of Nick Easter, who became first choice for the rest of the tournament.

Following the loss to South Africa, England began to improve steadily and, against most expectations, reached the final, where they lost a closely fought game. The improvement in performance was credited to the influence of a number of senior players, including Dallaglio (who made a number of appearances off the bench) and Mike Catt.

Soon after the World Cup tournament, Dallaglio and Catt each published an autobiography that was serialised in a major newspaper. Both players were highly critical of coach Brian Ashton's performance.[8][9] Many commentators questioned the wisdom of making public criticisms so soon after the tournament and Dallaglio later issued a clarification and partial apology.[10]

Drugs scandal

On 24 May 1999 Lawrence Dallaglio resigned as England's rugby union captain following allegations in the News of the World that he had used and been a dealer in hard drugs, including cocaine and ecstasy: the incidents were alleged to have taken place eight or nine years earlier, though the newspaper's front-page story made no mention of this. The newspaper also reported that Dallaglio had boasted about taking drugs at a party during the Lions tour to South Africa, in 1997.[11]

Dallaglio "categorically denied" the newspaper's claim that he had dealt in drugs and said he had been the victim of "an elaborate set-up".[12] In response, News of the World editor Phil Hall said: "We stand by our story. Lawrence Dallaglio is damned in his own words and frankly, we are amazed at his denial."[13]

England coach Clive Woodward, who was one of a panel of senior RFU officials who met Dallaglio to investigate the matter, said he was "bitterly disappointed" for the player and his family but was confident he would be "proved innocent".[13] The RFU undertook their own investigation to assess the veracity of the claims and Leicester lock and British & Irish Lions skipper Martin Johnson was appointed to replace Dallaglio as England captain.

Charitable work

Dallaglio is involved in charity work, particularly children's charities, and is an active Honorary President for the Middlesex Region of the Wooden Spoon, the charity of British and Irish rugby that supports disadvantaged children and young people in UK and Ireland.

In the summer of 2008, he cycled 933 km across the Pyrenees as part of a team of 30 cyclists, raising £435,000 for Bliss, the special care baby charity. Starting out in Biarritz and finishing in Banyuls, he was joined by former rugby player Damian Hopley and ski expert Warren Smith.

In the same month Dallaglio captained the Help for Heroes XV at a charity match in Twickenham. The side, which included former England Internationals Will Greenwood, Jason Robinson and current England Team Manager Martin Johnson, defeated the International XV led by former Wales captain Scott Gibbs. Dallaglio ended the match by kicking the final conversion, bringing the score to 29 - 10. In front of a 52,254 strong crowd at Twickenham the game raised funds approximately £1.3 million for Help for Heroes.

On September 2009 Dallaglio launched a website to accommodate his charity work called Dallaglio Foundation. It details upcoming events and challenges he or the foundation are involved in throughout the year as well as the charities he supports and the latest news regarding the foundation's activities.

In February 2010, Dallaglio embarked on a gruelling cycle from Rome to Edinburgh during the RBS 6 Nations Championship to raise money for Sport Relief and the Dallaglio Foundation. The Dallaglio Cycle Slam took place over the course of a month, seeing a team, including former Arsenal FC and England football international Lee Dixon cycling through all of the RBS 6 Nations countries, taking in each of the international rugby stadia along the way. The aim was to raise £1 million, net proceeds of which were split equally between Sport Relief and the newly formed Dallaglio Foundation, whose beneficiaries include Cancer Research UK, DebRA, Leukaemia Research, Help for Heroes and the RPA Benevolent Fund.



See also


  • Dallaglio, Lawrence (2007). It's in the Blood: My Life. Headline. ISBN 0-755-31573-1 
  • Dallaglio, Lawrence (1998). Dallaglio on Rugby: Know the Modern Game. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-71839-0 


  1. ^ McConnell, Jonathan (2008-05-31). "Wasps clinch Premiership glory". Guinness Premiership. Retrieved 2008-05-31. [dead link]
  2. ^ Day, Elizabeth (2005-10-09). "Dallaglio: my secret life as Tina Turner's backing vocalist". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  3. ^ Viner, Brian (2007-09-04). "Lawrence Dallaglio". Independent. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  4. ^ "I nearly answered Ireland's call". Thomas Crosbie Media. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  5. ^ Cleary, Mick (2004-01-13). "Dallaglio is front runner in England captaincy stakes". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 10. 14 June 2008.
  7. ^ "Radio Times 2007 Rugby World Cup". Radio Times. 2007-09-08. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  8. ^ "Dallaglio slams Ashton's approach". London: BBC Sport. 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  9. ^ Herman, Martyn (2007-10-28). "Dallaglio and Catt criticise Ashton". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  10. ^ Pryor, Matthew (2007-11-02). "Lawrence Dallaglio makes apology only for timing". Times Online (Times Newspapers). Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  11. ^ Cleary, Mick (1999-05-24). "Dallaglio facing RFU showdown". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2008-01-14. [dead link]
  12. ^ Graves, David (1999-05-25). "Dallaglio quits over 'set-up'". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2008-01-14. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Rugby captain Dallaglio quits". London: BBC News. 1999-05-25. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Phil de Glanville
English National Rugby Union Captain
Nov 1997-Apr 1998
Succeeded by
Tony Diprose
Preceded by
Martin Johnson
English National Rugby Union Captain
Nov 1998-Apr 1999
Succeeded by
Martin Johnson
Preceded by
Martin Johnson
English National Rugby Union Captain
Feb-Jun 2004
Succeeded by
Jason Robinson

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