Loyalty to Newcastle has cost Jonny dear, says Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio last night took Jonny Wilkinson to task for staying at a club who have not won a trophy for 10 years.

The former England captain, who retired at the end of last season, said: 'I have the utmost respect for Jonny. He is a world-class player and a world-class person and we all wish him the very best in his recovery from yet another bad injury.

Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson: Trophy drought

'Jonny has been incredibly loyal to the Newcastle Falcons. But has his loyalty cost him the opportunity to win medals and trophies?

'Would Steven Gerrard be playing for West Ham? Would Dan Carter be playing for Southland rather than Canterbury? I have used Wasps to get where I wanted to go and vice versa.' 

Dallaglio outlined his own one-club career with Wasps while delivering the annual Obolensky Lecture, given in memory of the Russian prince who played for England before the Second World War.

'One could argue that I have tremendous loyalty. In sport, especially professional sport, is loyalty enough? For me, absolutely not. I was very selfish. I joined Wasps because they were winners and because I wanted to win. I've had to be ruthless. Although I was at Wasps for 18 years, if I had ever thought they were not competitive I would have left.' 

Dallaglio also touched on England's lack of leadership during their tumble down the global rankings since winning the 2003 World Cup. 

'The England team I played in were a very special group of people,' he said. 'Six years in the making, we developed leaders in specialist areas and leadership was integral to our success.

'We had Martin Johnson, Phil Vickery, Richard Hill, Neil Back, Will Greenwood and Matt Dawson - leaders all over the pitch. It is this area in which England have had, and continue to have, concerns.' 

Lawrence Dallaglio

A few good men: Lawrence Dallaglio believes England have suffered from a lack of natural leadership on the field since their World Cup triumph in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Wales head coach Warren Gatland has left the door open for Gavin Henson to play a part in next month's home Tests against the Southern Hemisphere despite his two-match European Cup ban imposed by the Ospreys.

Gatland said: 'How the Ospreys discipline their players is entirely up to them. I won't be poking my nose in. Gav is a great player. He's been working hard in the gym and is looking in good condition. Hopefully, he will get some game time in before the Tests begin.'

While the Ospreys prepare for Saturday's must-win home Heineken Cup-tie against Perpignan, Henson will be turning out among the part-time professionals of Swansea in their Welsh Premiership match at Newport. The Ospreys' two remaining EDF Energy Cup ties over the next fortnight offer him a last hope of playing himself back on to the international stage.

Wales have put Englishman Craig White, formerly with Wasps and Leicester, in charge of the physical preparation of all their international teams, as national squad performance manager.

Sale's prospects of toppling European champions Munster at Edgeley Park on Sunday will partly hinge on a double disciplinary hearing tomorrow. Centre Rudi Keil and second row Kris Ormsby have been cited for foul play during last week's win over Clermont Auvergne in France. Toulouse scrum half Byron Kelleher has also been cited for stamping on Bath fly half Butch James.