Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rivals Are at Full Throttle for England

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rivals Are at Full Throttle for England

Article excerpt


YOU have to love this classic image of Martin Corry and Lawrence Dallaglio locking horns in a feisty Heineken Cup clash between Leicester and Wasps a couple of seasons ago.

There's Corry, left hand wrapped warmly around his old England oppo's throat and there's Dallaglio just standing tall, face contorted but defiantly refusing to yield an inch.

It is tempting to see it symbolising all of Corry's impotent frustration at constantly finding this largerthanlife figure blocking his career path.

For eight years, he'd had to look on, usually from the England bench, undemonstratively acting as Dallaglio's understudy in 17 internationals while the aura of the two-time national captain, World Cup colossus, publicity magnet and garrulous referee's assistant just kept growing.

So just when Corry had seemingly burst from the massive shadow for good following Dallaglio's international retirement 17 months ago and had started earning plaudits himself as England's inspiring new No8 and leader, how must it truly feel for him to welcome Lorenzo Bruno Nero back, even if he's doing the bench warming this time in the Six Nations opener against Wales?

"Maybe like turkeys voting for Christmas," was Corry's initial jokey line.

Knowing how Dallaglio is not cut out to be one of life's understudies, perhaps even Corry could imagine the scenario tomorrow where England are behind entering the last quarter, he's forced to come off because his rib injury flares up and Dallaglio, roared to the rafters by his adoring HQ charioteers, takes the reins to drive England to victory.

Yet if the presence of such a huge personality - "an icon of world rugby" Josh Lewsey calls him - is in any way discomfiting for Corry, you would never guess it.

All week, he has talked with genuine enthusiasm about how he welcomes the extra competition in the back-row and the extra leadership that Dallaglio provides. Likewise, Dallaglio dismisses the idea that his return might end up changing the dynamics of the team or that he might somehow inhibit the style of Corry's captaincy.

On the contrary, squad members believe Dallaglio will be the perfect foil for Corry, 32, a tub thumper to complement the quiet thinker. …

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