Dallaglio apologises for claiming England felt like 'pub team'

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Lawrence Dallaglio has apologised for his attack on England head coach Brian Ashton. The Wasps and England back-row was scathing of the preparations for the recent World Cup in his new autobiography, claiming the squad felt like a "pub team" and that Ashton "didn't have" the skills needed for his job.

England went on to recover from a disastrous start to the tournament to claim an unexpected place in the final before losing out to South Africa.

And given the current tide of public goodwill towards the national team, and the fact that the Rugby Football Union is yet to complete its assessment of the tournament – and Ashton's position – Dallaglio admits he may have been wise to hold back.

"I didn't set out in this book to embarrass anyone, to make bad comments about other people, and if that's happened I apologise," Dallaglio said. "But I think it would have been wrong of me not to finish with the 2007 World Cup the same way as I have tried to achieve through the book, which is just to be honest and open with my opinions.

"The timing obviously wasn't great, the dust is yet to settle on the World Cup, and if that's caused a problem then I apologise unreservedly," he said.

The RFU has announced record results for the year ended June 2007 with revenues up 25 per cent to £103.7m and operating profits up 73 per cent to £28.1m. Revenues, which exceeded £100m for the first time in the RFU's history, included record levels for ticketing and hospitality as a result of the extra capacity available following the successful completion of the new south stand at Twickenham.

Broadcasting revenues were also at record levels and this, combined with the performance on ticketing and hospitality, helped offset weaknesses in merchandising and licensing revenues.

The former Llanelli, Wales and Lions centre Ray Gravell has died of a suspected heart attack aged 56 while on holiday with his family in Mallorca. The Welsh Rugby Union paid tribute to Gravell "as a man who epitomised the passion, flair and dignity of his beloved Welsh nation".