Dallaglio doubt deepens England worries

England have quite enough on their collective plate without losing their proud and determined captain, Lawrence Dallaglio, for important training sessions in the build-up to this weekend's grand - or, judging by the performances in All Black country, not so grand - tour finale against the Wallabies. But they lost him yesterday. Dallaglio aggravated an old hand injury during last Saturday's defeat by New Zealand in Auckland and was in sufficient discomfort to make his apologies and view the latest preparations from the touchline.

England have quite enough on their collective plate without losing their proud and determined captain, Lawrence Dallaglio, for important training sessions in the build-up to this weekend's grand ­ or, judging by the performances in All Black country, not so grand ­ tour finale against the Wallabies. But they lost him yesterday. Dallaglio aggravated an old hand injury during last Saturday's defeat by New Zealand in Auckland and was in sufficient discomfort to make his apologies and view the latest preparations from the touchline.

He insisted he would be fit to take his place in the back row on Saturday. "At my age, you're keen to play every Test match available to you," said the 31-year-old No 8. He also predicted that Mike Tindall, Trevor Woodman and Richard Hill would recover from sundry bumps and bashes to join him in the starting line-up. All the same, England would have preferred to have trained with Dallaglio rather than without him, not least because the Wallabies, at full strength with the return of Matt Giteau in midfield, are getting sharper by the day, if the intelligence from their camp at Coff's Harbour is reliable.

Dallaglio seemed unusually subdued yesterday; certainly, he was not in the tub-thumping mood of a week ago, when he saw fit to stoke the fires ahead of the second meeting with the All Blacks. But that was a different Test, against opponents posing different problems. England were far from convinced of their ability to beat New Zealand, especially after suffering such a roasting in Dunedin, but they are damned sure they can beat the Wallabies if they reduce their error count.

"The scoreboard at Eden Park last Saturday recorded a handsome win for the All Blacks, but our energy levels and attitude were outstanding, especially after seeing Simon Shaw sent off so early in the game," the captain said. "If we can repeat those positive aspects of our game while cutting down our mistakes, we'll have a strong chance of winning here. The All Blacks played very well, but we made life easy for them with uncharacteristic errors ­ reckless kicks, missed tackles, turnovers. We need to inject some intensity into our attacking game, and we can only do that by getting our basics right."

Perhaps the most basic of all basics is to play the full 80 minutes with 15 players on the field, something England signally failed to do in Auckland. Shaw, dismissed in the 11th minute for striking his opposite number, Keith Robinson, with his knee but then acquitted on a technicality, is expected not only to resume his role in the engine-room of the scrum, but to play the entire match. This, as he was quick to acknowledge yesterday, would help matters no end.

"It was massively frustrating to sit on the touchline and watch the blokes battle so bravely, without being in a position to do anything constructive," he said. "Am I down about the incident? I'd rather it hadn't happened, obviously, but I'm happy in my own mind that there was nothing malicious in what I did. I know I'm not a dirty player, so I don't see any reason to change the way I operate."

* New Zealand have asked the International Rugby Board to consider whether the England coach, Clive Woodward, breached the IRB's Code of Conduct when criticising match officials after his side's 36-12 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday. The NZRU have sent the IRB a video of Woodward's post-match news conference.

* Martin Johnson has escaped serious injury after the car he was driving collided with another vehicle in the New Zealand province of Waikato. The former England captain was driving two friends to a reunion with his former team-mates when the accident happened in the Kaimai Ranges, near Hamilton, during a freak hailstorm. Although Johnson's hire car suffered extensive damage, he was not injured. Johnson is in New Zealand on a speaking tour.

AUSTRALIA V ENGLAND (Brisbane, Saturday): J Roff; W Sailor, S Mortlock, M Giteau, L Tuqiri; S Larkham, G Gregan (captain); B Young, B Cannon, A Baxter, J Harrison, N Sharpe, R Samo, P Waugh, D Lyons. Replacements: M Dunning, J Paul, D Vickerman, G Smith, C Rathbone, M Gerrard, C Latham.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us