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England v Wales, Six Nations, February 6
Dallaglio doesn't expect England miracle
Scrum.com
February 3, 2010

England legend Lawrence Dallaglio does not believe that Martin Johnson's men will pull off a miraculous recovery in the Six Nations.

Johnson has named a bold, attacking line-up to face Wales at Twickenham on Saturday but Dallaglio has tempered expectations, simply hoping for a better return than last season.

"There's no minimum requirement but what would constitute a successful campaign is one that is better than last year," he told ESPNscrum. "England currently have a 50% success rate so anything more than that would be a step in the right direction.

"I don't think they are going to go from where they were in the autumn to winning every single game. But certainly winning more games than they lose would be a very positive step for England."

In terms of the wider picture, Dallaglio sees the tournament as one of the most open in years. Ireland and France are currently favourites, but a successful opening weekend could give any side momentum to kick on.

"I think it's wide open," he said. "Everyone starts off with high hopes and expectations but after one round of games it's likely that three teams will have won and three teams will have lost and then expectations will change. But that first game is really important in terms of momentum, especially with the tournament played over such a short period of time so I think the opening round of matches, although I wouldn't write anyone off, the key is to make a winning start."

Dallaglio backed Johnson's opening selection, which sees Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey and Mathew Tait return to the fold in a strong attacking backline.

"Well, I think it is the first time that he has been able to pick a team from full strength, there's one or two other possibles as there always is, which is a real positive and he's also been quite bold in his selection, it's got a nice attacking feel to it," he said. "I'm no three quarter but the backline appears to be threatening all over the pitch. But as we know those forward exchanges will be crucial and paramout to how much ball they are given.

"What will please Martin enormously is the fact they are playing at home, the selection will please the fans, there is nothing unexpected there or out of the ordinary and it is a very strong selection. Hopefully it will get the Twickenham crowd behind the team and inspire them to beat Wales. Wales are going for four in a row against England which is a statistic England would no doubt love to reverse."

We spoke to Lawrence Dallaglio over a pint of Greene King IPA, the Official Beer of England Rugby. To find your nearest Official England Rugby Supporter Pub visit www.greenekingipa.co.uk

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