Dallaglio ready for final push

Lawrence Dallaglio insists he will enter Wasps‘ Guinness Premiership semi-final on Sunday charged by the realisation it might be his final game.

Dallaglio retires from the sport at the end of a season that Wasps hope will be brought to a triumphant conclusion at Twickenham in two weeks time.

First they must dispatch an impressive Bath side in what will be their celebrated 35-year-old captain’s Adams Park farewell.

It promises to be an emotional day and Dallaglio, who has spent his entire 18-year playing career at the club, will use the occasion to fuel his performance.

“My aim and ambition, whether this was my last game or not, would be to be where we are this weekend,” he said.

“The fact it could be my last game doesn’t change a lot for me or the team in that the ambition of Wasps is to win trophies.

“But it will be emotional as I’ll be playing at Adams Park for the final time and that’s exactly how we want to play against Bath.”

Wasps owe their presence in the play-offs to an astonishing rally in the second half of the season that saw them win 10 out of their last 11 Premiership matches.

After propping up the table for a brief 24-hour period that sequence swept them to second, reviving hopes of marking Dallaglio’s last campaign with some silverware.

The former England number eight believes Wasps’ surge is a remarkable achievement and left no doubt over what he blamed for their troubled start to the season.

“For a club to come from the bottom half of the table into the play-offs has never been done before. To achieve that is pretty good,” Dallaglio said.

“Winning one match out of the first six was not in the script but out of a possible 30 points in our last six games we won 24. That’s pretty good going.

“We were just lacking the experience of….nine or 10 players! We would have won a few more games had we not been missing so many players to the World Cup.

“As soon as we came back from the World Cup everything changed. The ethos of the club is to make sure every player and coach can operate at the highest level, and that’s international rugby.

“If we can achieve that and maintain our success then great. It’s becoming increasing difficult, not just on the pitch but financially. At some stage something will have to give.”

Dallaglio’s retirement will leave an enormous hole at the heart of Wasps and head coach Shaun Edwards explained why he is revered at Adams Park.

“Lawrence is a one club man and that’s to be admired, especially in the professional era of people moving around,” Edwards said.

“For a guy to stick with one club through thick and thin says a lot. I’m sure he had bigger offers to move elsewhere but he’s stuck with Wasps and we’ve benefited because of that.

“As a leader he talks the talk, and walks the walk. The game that most stands out for me was a year after he had done his cruciate knee ligament in 2001.

“His first comeback game was against Leicester and it was the greatest display by a player who had been out for nearly 12 months that I’d ever seen.

“That’s when I understood what everyone was talking about. I played for Wigan in the sevens at Twickenham in 1996 and before our game against Wasps Lawrence said ‘let’s smash these rugby league b******s!’

“In my sick persona I took an immediately liking to him. Most people would have been offended at what he said but I thought a lot of him!”

Wasps winger Paul Sackey will undergo a fitness test on Sunday morning while Bath front rows Lee Mears and Matt Stevens have been given the all clear to play following their injury scares.

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