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Lawrence Dallaglio demands an apology from England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Rob Newell/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ex-England skipper Lawerence Dallaglio has lashed last Saturday’s loss to the Springboks, demanding that the players should apologise to the nation for their underwhelming display in the 13-27 loss. The defeat condemned the English to their worst set of calendar year results since 2008 as just five wins were recorded in their twelve fixtures over the course of 2022.

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The latest loss was again accompanied by coach Eddie Jones calling on fans to blame him for the setback, but Dallaglio has gotten tired of the Australian trying to shield his players and wants them to take responsibility for the decline in fortunes.

Dallaglio got stuck into the England mess on the latest episode of the Evening Standard Rugby Podcast, claiming: “Eddie Jones, every time they lose, he comes out and says. ‘Blame me, it’s my fault’. Why don’t the players come out and say, ‘We would just like to apologise to the nation for that performance’ because that is what the nation needs? They need honesty.”

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The 2003 World Cup-winning Dallaglio added that he had no time for excuses in the wake of the defeat that left England finishing off their Autumn Nations Series with just one win in four matches, the round two game against Japan. “Obviously, I’m massively disappointed. I don’t enjoy having to be negative about the England team, that is not what I want,” he continued.

“Everyone is analysing England but actually sometimes you have to focus on the opposition first and say do you know, South Africa arrived at Twickenham, they haven’t had a great autumn campaign themselves, lost to Ireland, lost to France, two sides that are playing very well at the moment.

“So they were under a bit of pressure, had five or six top players missing because of the Test window and having to go back to their clubs. They had their coach [Rassie Erasmus] not present at the stadium because of what he has done on social media. Let’s not make any excuses.

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“South Africa didn’t arrive in great shape and yet they produced a performance, resilient, gritty, tough, all the things that you expect from South Africa and in the final analysis had they been a bit sharper, maybe if they had a few of those things I mentioned, they probably would have won by a lot more.

“So whilst I am quick to analyse England, as the whole world is, you have got to say well done to South Africa. Very few people did that on Saturday but England, yes, I am disappointed. The RFU have come out with another statement saying, ‘’We’re analysing his results’. Well, I can tell you now, 2022 has not been a good year for England.

“It’s the worst set of results since 2008 and, while you know the sun shines in my head every day and I like to paint the brightest of pictures, you can’t move away from the fact that this is a results-driven business and a year out from the World Cup, I’m concerned and I’m worried because everyone is attacking Eddie Jones.

“When you lose games he is going to come under pressure because he is the head coach as Wayne Pivac is for Wales, as all these guys do. But as a group of players, there are a lot of senior players in that group now, they have all won trophies at Saracens and various other clubs around the country and players have got to take responsibility. What are they doing in terms of trying to drive the focus?

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“I’m concerned about the way England start games of Test rugby against very superior, high-quality opposition, tier one nations. The game is technical, it’s tactical, but if you don’t have the right emotional levels, if you don’t have the right mental preparation going into the start of a Test match then you are going to lose.

“The majority of rugby matches are won by the team that is winning at half-time, that is a fact. Occasionally you get a glorious comeback if you’re lucky but they are very rare so that suggests to me that the first ten minutes of a Test match are really, really important.

“England under Eddie Jones have repeatedly, other than in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand and other than one performance away to Ireland, they are always second best in that first, opening salvo.

“So I am concerned, I am worried. It’s disappointing because we are fifth in terms of our ranking but we are so far off the sides above us in my opinion that we have got a long, long way to go.”

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