It was great playing against the kings of 7s Serevi: Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence Dallaglio

 

Memories are still fresh from the first ever world cup 7s tournament held in 1993, says Lawrence Dallaglio.

The former England 15s and 7s rugby player said: “It was amazing to be selected in the first place. I was playing second team rugby for Wasps, I hadn’t broken into the England team and I was 20, which was very young. I was a lot quicker, I had a bit more hair, and I really enjoyed the Sevens.

“We knew we had a chance because we had Andrew Harriman, who was one of the fastest players in the world at the time.

waisale serevi
Waisale Serevi

“We had an opportunity to ease ourselves into the tournament. We played Hong Kong, we played Canada, we had a game against Samoa and it was pretty clear early on that we were a decent side. We had forwards who could run, we had pace but it got harder on day two when we put into another pool with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa!
“We were full of confidence by the semis and believed we had a genuine chance of going on to win the tournament and the thing about Sevens is that you can play against the best in the world and if you get your retaliation in early and get points on the board then you have a chance, and in Andrew Harriman we knew we had a game-changer. And against Fiji we scored a couple of early tries to seize the initiative.

“It was great to be playing against the kings of Sevens at that time – Serevi, what a legend, and every player in their team. I even managed to get myself on the scoresheet – more through panic I think than anything else. I was running at Serevi thinking ‘I’m terrified, but he looks even more terrified than me’, so I managed to get round him and score the try and that was us through to the final.

“We played Australia in the final and they were a phenomenal side with Campese, Lynagh, big Willie O, Burke, so they were favourites but we were up for it and they were the one team we hadn’t beaten at that stage. I remember them kicking off to us and it couldn’t have gone any better. It went through every pair of hands, got out to Andy Harriman in his own 22, he stood Campese up, went round the outside and went the length of the field to get us off to an outstanding start. And before we knew it we were 21-0 up.”

Australia came back to 21-17, but England clinched the first RWC Sevens.

“It’s a great memory, a great moment in my career and something very special to be part of and I would never have dreamt of winning a World Cup Sevens and then 10 years after that of winning a World Cup in 15s, against Australia.”