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English Rugby
Dallaglio backs Lancaster on Easter
ESPN Staff
October 29, 2012
England's Richard Hill, Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio celebrate with the Six Nations Championship trophy, Ireland v England, Six Nations Championship, Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Ireland, March 30, 2003
Lawrence Dallaglio formed a formidable back-row with Richard Hill and Neil Back © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Lawrence Dallaglio | Nick Easter | Ben Morgan
Teams: England

Former England and Lions No.8 Lawrence Dallaglio has leant his backing to Stuart Lancaster's refusal to bring Nick Easter back into the England squad.

The England head coach has not picked Easter since taking over at the start of the year and instead he has used Phil Dowson, Ben Morgan and Thomas Waldrom at No.8 despite Easter being a key element of Harlequins' Premiership winning team. Dallaglio retired at 35, a year older than Easter, but with the next World Cup three years away he believes Lancaster was correct to overlook a player who will be 37 in 2015.

"Nick Easter is obviously playing well in a Quins team that is looking very good. I played my last international at a similar age at the 2007 Rugby World Cup but had that been three years away there is no way I would have still been playing," Dallaglio told The Rugby Paper. "Stuart Lancaster has done very well so far coming second in the Six Nations and just missing out on the Grand Slam and there were signs of encouragement on the summer tour as well with some younger players coming through."

Dallaglio has been highly impressed by the form of Morgan since he joined Gloucester in the close-season. The former Scarlets player came off the bench to make his debut against Scotland at the start of this year's Six Nations and has since won seven caps in total.

"You have Ben Morgan who has been in good form and looks fitter and fitter," Dallaglio said. "The fitter he is the more England can get him involved in the game and the more effective he will be. I think he has done enough to deserve that spot and I think England can get a lot out of him this autumn."

One position that does concern the former London Wasps' stalwart is open-side flanker; captain Chris Robshaw played there throughout the Six Nations and during the tour to South Africa, but Dallaglio does not feel he is a true number seven in the way that the likes of New Zealand captain Richie McCaw or Australia's David Pocock are. Having played alongside Richard Hill and Neil Back when England won the 2003 World Cup Dallaglio knows exactly how important a true open-side is to the success of a team.

"My biggest concern is actually at seven rather than eight," he said. "England don't have anyone in role of Pocock, (Sam) Warburton or McCaw. Players like Chris Robshaw and Tom Wood are very good players, but they don't have the same skills. It is because of the way that the game is officiated in England. It makes it very difficult for a real open-side to come through and we are getting left behind on the international stage. Against the southern hemisphere sides you need to be able to compete like that but at the moment we are being left behind a bit."

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