For most of our readers, the England 2003 World Cup winning team will be a very special one, for obvious reasons.
From that team there are a number of players with truly iconic status, Jonny Wilkinson, obviously, Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, and Will Greenwood to name just a few.
One of that group of truly iconic players is Lawrence Dallaglio. As a player he was a barnstorming number 8, who won everything. The 2003 World Cup, 2003 Grand Slam, and number of Six/Five Nations titles, a Lions tour in 1997, Premiership’s, Heineken Cups, the lot.
In retirement he is just as busy, many will have seen him as part of BT Sport’s team of rugby analysts, but he is also equally busy away from the screen with a number of projects, including the Dallaglio Foundation.
The Dallaglio Foundation was set up in 2009 and exists to nurture and develop the essential skills of disadvantaged young people. By increasing their sense of worth, self-confidence and self-esteem we work to empower them to make better life choices, now and in the future.
One of the many undertakings of the Foundation is their rugby scholarship program, which sees the Foundation support talented young players through scholarships to a number of top schools.
Haileybury are one such school, and their highly talented Sebastian Brownhill is of the Dallaglio Foundation’s scholars.
Earlier his week Lawrence visited Haileybury, where he gave a seminar to their sports scholars on maximizing potential and leadership, something of a specialist subject for the former England captain, and gave a talk to all pupils about his career and the Foundation, as well as holding a breakdown masterclass with the U16s.
Haileybury’s Director of Sport, Andy Searson, was delighted at having one of the greats of the game coming to speak to pupils, saying:
“Lawrence is one of the greats of the game and it was an honour to have him here at Haileybury. We are having a rare time of it at the moment, having recently hosted the Argentina and USA teams during Rugby World Cup 2015, as well as Alastair Hignell, and a visit from Lawrence Dallaglio has topped off a wonderful autumn.
I know our pupils have been truly inspired by his visit and have taken a lot away from the experience. Our Under 16s had the chance to be coached by Lawrence in a masterclass, and the boys’ rugby teams – from the Under 13 C team through to the 1st XV team – greatly benefitted from meeting an England legend. Girls’ rugby has really taken off at Haileybury and meeting Lawrence was a great boost to their development. Scholars from our High Performance Programme were lucky enough to have a session on how to maximise their potential.”
Rugby at Haileybury really does seem to be on the up at the moment, as Searson alluded to. The former Wales number 8, Michael Owen, who captained them to a Grand Slam in 2005 and then toured with the Lions that same year, captaining them against Argentina, is Director of Rugby and has certainly seen some good performances of late.
Captain Nick Isiekwe played for England U18 over the summer and has even managed to squeeze in an appearance for the Saracens senior side this season in one of their pre-season games, the second row looks set for big things.
The presence of the USA and Argentina during the World Cup also clearly gave the school a big boost as they performed seemingly above themselves early on in the season, clearly inspired by having the World Cup coming to their playing fields.
The development of those two sides, Argentina and the USA, was something that Dallaglio also spoke about, and Andy Searson was also keen to point out what an exciting time it was having them for both the school and the pupils, saying:
“We were thrilled to play a part in Rugby World Cup 2015 and be a Team Base for Argentina and the USA. Both teams trained on our historic Terrace rugby pitch and used our sports facilities, including the swimming pool and sports centre. We have a rich rugby heritage and being chosen to be one of only 41 Team Bases was a real honour. Our pupils were able to watch top-class rugby players in action and it was a very unique and exciting opportunity.”
It has been quite a term to be a part of the Haileybury rugby set up, one would think, and Dallaglio’s visit this week will have been something that each and every players will remember, regardless of how serious, or not, their rugby careers become.
Haileybury travel to Oundle this weekend, will they be inspired by the former England number 8 to beat one of the top schools in the country this year, the old school of his former fly half at Wasps during their glory years, Dave Walder? It would be quite an achievement if so.
Do you have any rugby related stories from your own school that you would like to share? Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you do, we would love to feature as many schools as possible.