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Lawrence Dallaglio Exclusive: Like It Or Not, Rugby Has Changed And Every Red Card Has Been The Correct Decision

Lawrence Dallaglio Exclusive: Like It Or Not, Rugby Has Changed And Every Red Card Has Been The Correct Decision

Lawrence Dallaglio believes rugby's red card problem at this World Cup is short-term pain for long-term gain.

The 2003 World Cup winner thinks players and fans have to suck it up and accept the rules changes that have caused a stir in Japan.

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The 2019 World Cup saw a record seven red cards in the group stages, three more than in the entire 2015 tournament, with high and dangerous tackles being penalised.

England finished top of Pool C to set up a quarter-final showdown with Australia on Saturday, and Eddie Jones' men benefitted from two red card decisions against USA and Argentina.

Lawrence Dallaglio thinks this England team can replicate the heroics his side produced in 2003
Lawrence Dallaglio thinks this England team can replicate the heroics his side produced in 2003

Argentina forward Tomas Lavanini was sent off for a brutal tackle on England's Owen Farrell in Tokyo, and Dallaglio thinks there can be no complaints.

He told SPORTbible: "I don't think there's any discussion to be had. The game of rugby has changed from when I've played and every red card that's been awarded so far in the World Cup is a red card.

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"Cards are not being given out to ruin the spectacle for fans, they're given out to protect the players.

"Concussion is the biggest injury problem in rugby at the moment, players are missing training sessions, missing matches and having to retire very early in their professional careers because of concussion.

"Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the only way we're going to reduce that is by lowering the tackle height and making sure that we don't have tackles like that challenge we saw on Owen Farrell.

"Let's hope that a knockout match won't be decided by a red card. England are very clear on what's allowed and not allowed based on two red cards issued in their games so it will be the same message for England if they're to overstep the line.

"We are going to see a change in behaviour and it's going to take time for that message to get across. In this World Cup, the message has been sent loud and clear."

England take on Australia in the first quarter-final on Saturday after three wins against USA, Tonga and Argentina, and a washed out draw with France.

The Red Rose have made a difficult group seem like light work, and Dallaglio isn't concerned that they haven't had a real test on their way to the knockout stages.

"There's always ways you can improve," he said. "England will have tougher tests ahead. They know that they're going to have to play better against more superior opponents.

England's George Ford and Owen Farrell prepare to take on Australia in the quarter-finals on Saturday
England's George Ford and Owen Farrell prepare to take on Australia in the quarter-finals on Saturday

"There are small details to improve, but we all know what this England team are capable of. Their performance in Dublin in the Six Nations set the benchmark for what they're capable of and they'll have to be close to that, if not better, to progress further in the competition.

"But the good news is that they've got all that in their locker and it strikes me that when the tests do come along that England have got the ability to raise their game and meet those challenges."

Dallaglio set up a charity called Rugbyworks to help 14-17 year olds who have been excluded from mainstream education turn their lives around.

The three-year-programme is currently in operation in over 80 schools around the country and uses the values of rugby to give them a second chance.

Dallaglio said: "Roughly 65 per cent of everyone that ends up in alternative provision education ends up in prison. That's a very worrying number and statistic.

"What that tells you is the system is fundamentally flawed and once they're excluded from mainstream, society really gives up on them and I don't think that's right.

"I think every young person should have an opportunity to be successful in their lives.

"Rugby gave me a lot of opportunity in my life, I certainly had a troubled and difficult childhood with the loss of my sister and rugby gave me an early focus in my life and I ended up doing something pretty good."

Lawrence Dallaglio was talking on behalf of Dallaglio Rugbyworks, a charity he founded which provides structure, support, and a pathway to the future using the values of rugby. Dallaglio Rugbyworks is working closely with RugbyX, which takes place at the O2 Arena on Tuesday 29 October. Tickets are available at rugbyx.com/tickets

Topics: rugby world cup

Sunni Upal

Sunni Upal is editor at SPORTbible

 

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