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Dallaglio � Back in the Community

30 January 2004

Less than 24 hours after being appointed England captain, Lawrence Dallaglio, was not out celebrating or basking in his accomplishments, but rather getting back to where rugby is most important - in the community.

Dallaglio, together with Phil Greening, paid a visit to Haresfoot Preparatory School, Berkhamsted in Herts. The England captain was the guest of honour as he helped open the new school sports hall and offer expert Tag Rugby coaching to the pupils.

The event, organised by the Wasps Community Team, provided the pupils with a better understanding of rugby by using the safe and enjoyable game of Tag Rugby to spread the rugby gospel.

The thick snow was no deterrent for the Wasps stars as they coached and played Tag Rugby with the pupils for about an hour. The 6 to 11-year-olds then ambushed the players and attacked them with pellets of snowballs.

Dallaglio said, "There is something refreshing to get away from all the hype and intensity of professional rugby and get back to the basics of rugby which is community work. Here at Wasps, it doesn't matter if you are the England captain or a young Academy player; we all need to give something back. This week it was my turn and I was honoured to be able to open their new sports hall.

 "Sometimes players can forget where rugby all starts. The game is a multimillion-pound industry, but it all starts with kids playing with a size-three ball on the playground.

"I remember throwing a ball around at school and what it meant for me to see �real' rugby players coming to our school or club and watching them. I'm just glad I can give something back. The set-up at Wasps with our community team is probably the best in the country, even with our low resources, but these boys are out here week in and week out spreading the gospel of rugby and getting the local community involved".

The local mayors and dignitaries also attended the opening of the sports hall. Deputy Mayor of Dacorum, David Smedley, said, "Having Lawrence and Phil here is fantastic and gives a complete uplift and raises the profile for all. Rugby at the moment is on such a high that it can't lose. We're a smallish community area and having these world stars give up their time for the locals is absolutely amazing".

Community Development Officer Dave Larham said, "This was an excellent opportunity for London Wasps to broaden the boundaries of our work within the community.

"We are very proud that Lawrence has been named as England Captain and feel that the calibre of the man has been demonstrated by his willingness to support the Community Team and play Tag Rugby in the snow with 50 children; the day after his captaincy was formally announced". "We were delighted to support the Official Opening of the Haresfoot School Sports Hall and look forward to continuing our Community Partnership in the future".

London Wasps are away to Perpignan this Sunday with the England squad meeting up next week.