Fletcher rises above Dallaglio’s jibes

NEWCASTLE will not be influenced by scathing criticism delivered by England’s Lawrence Dallaglio when they face the back rower and his Wasps side this weekend.

NEWCASTLE will not be influenced by scathing criticism delivered by England’s Lawrence Dallaglio when they face the back rower and his Wasps side this weekend.

In a recent newspaper serialisation of his book, Dallaglio aimed broadsides at the Falcons – suggesting stars such as Jonny Wilkinson “aren’t playing for the best side” and that Wilkinson was only staying with the Falcons because of loyalty. Dallaglio also suggested the Falcons would “have to improve dramatically” to win anything in the near future.

But Falcons coach John Fletcher said: “I don’t read anything in to it. The players might do, but that’s up to them.

“Lawrence is on a bit of a campaign to shift copies of his book, so fair play to him. He has been a great player for Wasps and England, he’s now coming to the end of his career and he wants to sell books.

“I’m not really bothered if he wants to say anything derogatory about Newcastle Falcons, and it’s not as if we need any more motivation anyway.

“Wasps are a team we’ve beaten regularly at Kingston Park over the last few years. We’ve started well down there a number of times but haven’t quite finished the job off.

“Last season we got two early tries against them away from home before Jason Oakes head-butted Simon Shaw’s fist twice.

“Shaw got a talking to and no yellow card, then we had Oakesy sin-binned and that changed the shape of the game.

“Don’t get me wrong, Oakesy did deserve his yellow card for stamping on Lawrence Dallaglio, but Shaw punched a guy twice full in the face and stayed on the field.

“That was a massive factor in how the game panned out. they scored twice in that ten minutes.”

The Falcons are aiming to make it five consecutive games unbeaten in what is the first of two visits to Adams Park in the space of six days – with this weekend’s Guinness Premiership encounter being followed the following Saturday when the two clubs meet in the decisive EDF Energy Cup pool encounter.

FORMER England coach Andy Robinson, now at Edinburgh, believes Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan should lead the British Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009.

McGeechan was the Lions head coach in 1989, 1993 and 1997 and Robinson said: “His depth of knowledge and understanding of the game in all its facets – attack, defence, set-piece – is just phenomenal.”

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