Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Dallaglio slams coaching set-up in English rugby


Veteran England star Lawrence Dallaglio delivered a damning verdict on England's coaching set-up at this month's Rugby World Cup in extracts of his autobiography published in the Sunday Times newspaper.

Dallaglio, who did not make head coach Brian Ashton's team for much of the tournament, said that at one stage he thought "we'd managed to turn our World Cup campaign into a Monty Python sketch -- called The Life Of Brian."

England were runners-up, losing in the final to South Africa despite the players sometimes feeling like they were in a "pub team," Dallaglio said.

Dallaglio said that Ashton's style was like "the Steiner school of rugby -- free will and free love for all."

"It was like, `you guys do what you want,'" he said.

But despite the laid-back approach, Ashton, forwards coach John Wells and defense coach Mike Ford were not singing "from the same hymn sheet" and had "different ideas about what the team should be doing."

Frustrations bubbled up at a pre-tournament training camp in Portugal when senior players including Dallaglio, captain Phil Vickery, Jonny Wilkinson and Jason Robinson got together to discuss a plan of action.

The problems surfaced again after South Africa beat England 36-0 in the initial stages of the event and the team held a meeting when Olly Barkley told Ashton: "Look, Brian, no one's got a fucking clue how we're supposed to be playing here," Dallaglio said.

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