Rugby Union: Woodward hints at Test return for Dallaglio

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The Independent Online
LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO must sit it out a little longer before discovering whether his disciplinary hearing has prejudiced his England career.

Yesterday when the England coach, Clive Woodward, named his England A team to face a United States XV at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens next Tuesday, his former captain was not even on the bench, despite having been cleared to play for England pending his disciplinary hearing later this month.

The indications are therefore that Woodward intends naming him in the Test side which takes on the full-strength US Eagles side at Twickenham a week today.

"Lawrence is available for selection but that does not mean I will pick him at the weekend," Woodward said. It is unlikely that Woodward would leave out Dallaglio next weekend though, since that could throw a question mark over the loyalty he has professed to the Wasps player.

Dallaglio will answer charges of bringing the game into disrepute and, more seriously, of taking drugs, at a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing on 25 August. He was restored to the squad last month with Woodward saying that as long as the player was available, he would continue to pick him.

Meanwhile the A match represents a chance for the outside-half Paul Grayson and centre Will Greenwood to prove they are fit enough to be considered for England's World Cup squad which will be named on 31 August, three days after England's Test against Canada.

Ben Clarke has been named captain and, significantly, Martin Corry, Dallaglio's deputy for the summer tour to Australia, has been demoted to the A side.

Woodward admitted: "I will be closely monitoring the the fitness levels of Grayson and Greenwood." Grayson, who will be playing on his club pitch having recovered from a stress fracture of his pelvis, is invaluable back- up with his goal-kicking to the first choice, Jonny Wilkinson.

Greenwood, though, who has been suffering from a groin complaint, is a more crucial factor in England's World Cup campaign with his powerful presence adding a cutting edge to the attack and a steely presence in midfield defence.

Meanwhile, Craig Chalmers and Bryan Redpath have been selected in the Scotland A team to face Argentina at Perth next Tuesday. Scott Murray also has a chance to prove himself in the second row, while George Graham has an opportunity to press for a World Cup place at tight-head.

ENGLAND A (v United States XV, Northampton, 17 Aug): N Beal (Northampton); D Rees (Sale), W Greenwood (Leicester), B-J Mather (Sale), L Lloyd (Leicester); P Grayson (Northampton), M Wood (Wasps); G Rowntree (Leicester), P Greening (Sale), V Ubogu (Bath), S Shaw (Wasps), T Rodber (Northampton), B Clarke (Bath, capt), J Worsley (Wasps), M Corry (Leicester). Substitutes: T Stimpson (Leicester), A King (Wasps), S Benton (Leeds), P Gustard (Leicester), W Green (Wasps), T Woodman (Gloucester), N McCarthy (Gloucester).

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