Dallaglio looks forward to business role with Wasps

Wasps’s Lawrence Dallaglio, who retired after their English Premiership final victory over Leicester, said he looked forward to his business role next season to consolidate the club’s successes.

A tearful Dallaglio left the field shortly before the end of Saturday’s 26-16 success over Leicester at Twickenham where he lifted the trophy as captain.

The 2003 World Cup winner has won all seven Twickenham finals he has played for Wasps — four Premiership finals, two European Cup finals and the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Dallaglio has been an intrinsic part of Wasps for nearly two decades and he will continue to work for the club in a business role next season.

“On the pitch we are in great health. We have a fantastic set of coaches, a fantastic squad and we will look to try and develop that,” Dallaglio said.

“But there are bigger challenges off the field. Rugby is about to take another leap into the next level of professionalism.

“There are clubs around the country and in Europe playing in big stadiums, the tills ringing every week and the budgets are getting bigger.

“We want to be competitive. There is no doubt players make huge sacrifices to be at Wasps because they want to be in that environment, they want to win. But we need to be able to boast some of the best stadiums in the country, the best squad and the best stadium.

“One of the challenges I face is to make that happen and to bring the business in line with the excellence we have demonstrated on the field.”

Dallaglio, the heartbeat of Wasps for 18 years and 339 games, led the club to their fourth title in six seasons with the triumph over the Tigers.

Van Gisbergen, kicking in Danny Cipriani’s absence, slotted Wasps into the lead with an early penalty before committing a major clanger under his own posts as he failed to gather Andy Goode’s chip forward.

Under real pressure, Wasps conceded the penalty. Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis initially opted for a quick tap, which appeared the wrong decision as Wasps’ defence swarmed.

But when Flutey was penalised for handling the ball on the ground, Goode stepped up to level the scores.

Then Leicester took charge with great efforts by loose forwards Rees and James Haskell.

Scrum-half Eoin Reddan sliced through the middle and after powerful surges from Phil Vickery and Simon Shaw, Rees punctured the Leicester defence from close range to score the opening try.

Wasps were dominating possession and Van Gisbergen slotted a second penalty, opening a 10-point advantage after 23 minutes, before Leicester finally forced Wasps on to the back foot.

Giant Samoan winger Alesana Tuilagi charged through Reddan’s attempted tackle but the Tigers were limited to a second Goode penalty.

Wasps responded by smashing the Tigers with a 10-point blitz just before the interval.

When Goode’s penalty found the woodwork in the second half, in another incident which showed it was just not Leicester’s day, it fell nicely for Wasps who charged upfield but did not finish the move.

However, Leicester looked like they might push Wasps all the way when Varndell scored a try following good work from Geordan Murphy, and this heralded a superb comeback.

When Ellis nipped over to leave Wasps just seven points ahead it looked as though Leicester might just have a chance of completing a fine comeback.

Van Gisbergen scored another three points for Wasps from the boot for their first points following the break.

Leicester gave it their all in the closing minutes but the 10-point gap remained leaving Dallaglio to celebrate heartily with his team-mates.

Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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