World Cup winner inspiring change
By Paul Smith, Sportsbeat
LAWRENCE Dallaglio has hailed the impact rugby is having in changing the lives of scores of youngsters in London. The 2003 England World Cup winner founded the Dallaglio Foundation, which is a programme that goes into schools and clubs and works to provide children with a new focus by teaching them rugby.
The foundation held an awards night to celebrate a successful first year, with many of those who have excelled on the programme being recognised for their achievements, and Dallaglio is full of pride at the work being done.
"For us we have come such a long way in 12 months - it has been an amazing journey," said the 40-year-old, who also played for London Wasps.
"It is about seeing how these kids have taken on the values of rugby, taking better life choices and trying to give them a support network and use rugby as a way to really positively influence their lives.
"We are working with some difficult children, no doubt about it. They are people that have been excluded or expelled from school.
"What we are trying to do with the rugby programme is to give them a support system that will allow them to maybe think differently about how they approach everyday life, feel part of a team, and gain each other's respect in a way that can really impact them very positively."
One of those to benefit from the Dallaglio Foundation is 17-year-old Ashley Thompson, of Islington.
Thompson admits he hasn't always behaved well but after being presented by Dallaglio with the foundation's Special Achievement Award he revealed he has learned the error of his ways.
"I was a little bit wild when I was young," he said. "Seeing how there is more things out there in the world, I have calmed down and taken on new challenges.
"I am now volunteering in my old school and in a gym with my coach Mike (Henderson), and I have just calmed down and kept myself on a straight and narrow path."
Dallaglio Foundation Rugby For Change uses the sport and its core values to empower individuals to make positive choices, for more information www.dallagliofoundation.com
Sportsbeat 2013 (c)