Ruck and Maul: Dallaglio ready to ride again in search of cash for good causes

 

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The Independent Online

Lawrence Dallaglio was back on his bike yesterday, pedalling a few hours with Rugby Players Association chief executive, Damian Hopley.

You may remember Dallaglio cycling through the Six Nations in 2010. This year's is a marathon effort, from Olympia in Greece to London's Olympic Park, across 2,862km and with the aim of raising £2.012 million for charities including Cancer Research and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

With Andrew Flintoff by his side and Sir Richard Branson lending support, Dallaglio will set off on St George's Day, 23 April, to arrive home on 18 May.

All involved in the last stage will move on to the Amlin Challenge Cup final at The Stoop in the evening, and everyone from the trip will gather at Twickenham the next day for the Heineken Cup final. For more: dallaglioflintoff2012.com.

Meanwhile, the Wasps director Dallaglio is waiting for news of a buyer for the club. If the team could get to the Amlin final it might oil the wheels of the sale.

Mancs tank again

Getty Schinkel watched his first home match as head coach of Manchester yesterday. "I think there's just a few small things that need changing and tweaking," the 33-year-old South African said after the previous week's trip to Rugby that brought Manchester's 77th straight league defeat.

The 100-6 scoreline was the highest in the history of Rugby. While neighbours Sale have branded themselves "The North West's Team", Manchester have sunk to the bottom of National Three Midlands. The visit of Syston yesterday produced defeat No 78 in a row, by 20-0.

Not whodunnit, but why

England's interim head coach, Stuart Lancaster, gave reporters a half-hour presentation on the way his team would play in the Six Nations that included a diagram of concentric circles illustrating how sides get bogged down in the "what" and "how" of tactics before thinking about the "why".

Ruck and Maul wonders whether "Lanny" could expand this into the philosophical and existential when, on the Tuesday of the squad's first week in Leeds, they intend to clear up unfinished business from the World Cup. They might ask – for instance – why Manu Tuilagi jumped off a ferry in Auckland.

We know the how and the what – he stripped to his pants and leapt into the water. But not the why. For a laugh? A desire to prove himself a man? A lack of respect for the idea of representing England?

Similarly, the brief bout of drinking in Queenstown which seems to have translated in some reporters' eyes into seven weeks of rampant dipsomania. We know roughly what went on – some shots and drinking games with dwarves as the floor show. We know how they did it – the England manager, Martin Johnson, gave the players a night off and hoped his captain, Lewis Moody, would crack the whip if the need arose. But why did Mike Tindall and co do it?

If the answer is that there is something fundamentally awry when players get together for England then Lancaster clearly intends to lance the boil with a series of speakers – Dave Brailsford, Hugh Morris, Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and two others from football or cricket and the Forces – to make clear what this sporting life is all about.

Lancaster promised the squad will be "tight" for Six Nations matches in Scotland, Italy and France. A few flights but not a ferry in sight. Let us assume no player will consider jumping off a plane. We can assume that, right?

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

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