Pubdate: Wed, 26 May 1999
Source: Independent, The (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact:  1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL
Author: Andrew Buncombe


"LIES," Lawrence Dallaglio virtually growled yesterday as he tried to
explain his side of the now infamous drugs scandal.

His own lies admittedly, but lies all the same. He had said all those
things that the News of the World claimed he had, but none of it was
true. It all had been said to try to impress those devious reporters.

Mr Dallaglio looked like a man in pain as he faced the media, the
morning after resigning the England rugby captaincy. Clearly
humiliated by having had to call the meeting and face embarrassing
questions, he quickly made his position clear.

Yes, he had "experimented" with drugs as a teenager though he deeply
regretted it now; no, he had never sold drugs; no, he had not taken
drugs during the 1997 Lions tour of South Africa; and no, he did not
condone the use of drugs.

He had been foolish and naive - and apparently blind drunk, according
to what he has told friends. It was as simple as that. Except, quite
clearly, that it was not. A match report of Mr Dallaglio's performance
at the press conference at the headquarters of the Rugby Football
Union in Twickenham would have been mixed.

In attack he did quite well, blaming the reporters for leading him on
to say things he had not meant. "I was naive and foolish and . I was
following a line of questioning that was instigated by the reporters,"
he explained, saying he had been drawn into the "sting" by talk of a
fictitious UKP500,000 sponsorship deal from the razor manufacturers
Gillette, including a scheme to fund inner-city rugby.

"These reporters were openly admitting to me their confessions of what
they had done. Therefore they were leading me by those allegations of
their own behaviour into suggesting what I might do or don't do."

But in defence, the 17-stone Wasps flanker known for his fearless
tackling was rather more suspect. Why, he was asked, had he told lies?

"[I] created stories which simply weren't true in an attempt to .
impress them," he said unconvincingly.

But why did he think they were going to be impressed by his mendacious

"A lot of people are saying, 'Well, why are you making up stories like
that to try and impress them', but, as I said before, a lot of it was
fabrication, and I'm sure a lot of what they were saying was

Was it perhaps that the Wasp caught in a honey trap by a "buxom
blonde" had been hoping for something more than just an inner-city
rugby scheme? Sadly no one had the chance to ask, as the press
conference was called to an end.

Whether Mr Dallaglio's performance yesterday was good enough to save
his career remains unclear. England coach Clive Woodward, who attended
the press conference to offer support, hinted it may have been and
said he was extremely proud of a player who had been a "right prat".

He added: "He could have done it with a press statement and lawyers,
but he wants to walk down the street with his head held high and
nothing more attached to him than that he has been foolish."
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