Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about what he got up to in new show, Live Italian.
The former rugby player is taking part, along with Jack Whitehall and Maya Jama, in a new three-part series, which premieres on Prime Video from today. Lawrence – whose episode is the last in the series – told Chris: “The premise of the show was to take me from the fast pace of London, over to Italy to learn how to slow down.”
He added: “It was about living the Italian way, slowing down and enjoying yourself because, as they say, ‘How do you stop an Italian from talking? You tie his hands behind his back’, don’t you really? Because they do love a little natter!”
In the show, which is made in partnership with beer brand Birra Moretti, the celebrities are each paired up with an expert who will introduce them to the best music, food and sport that Italy has to offer. Lawrence’s episode sees him join Italian rugby player Martin Castrogiovanni. “I mean, it’s a tough gig, isn’t it? ‘Would you like to go around Italy? We’ll give you a wonderful hosting in Martín Castrogiovanni. Five days travelling, eating, drinking – responsibly of course – and enjoying yourself’.”
The two legends go head-to-head in traditional Italian sporting challenges, including a race in Piaggio scooters. “We did Tamburello… it was tennis with a tambourine. I mean, only in Italy can they come up with those kinds of sports where you play tennis with a tambourine!” the former England captain said.
Highlights from Lawrence’s episode also include cheese rolling in Pienza, learning Italian gestures and playing the “most ancient form of rugby called calcio storico”. He explained: “They split the city of Florence up into four regions depending on where you’re born. And actually, you remember that film, Con Air? It’s a bit like they’ve just released everyone off the plane and put them on a pitch. I mean it was literally 27-a-side, and sort of a mixture of handball, boxing. I thought to myself ‘This is like you know something out of Warriors’.
“It was amazing, but what happens afterwards is they will obviously have a bit of a scrap and then they will sit down and have food together and break bread.
“Everything in Italy is a means to an end. It’s about getting to the table and sitting down and living Italian.”
Lawrence, whose father is Italian, said: “I don’t know why, in England, we’re in this hurry to do everything. In Italy, it’s about slowing down, it’s about taking your time and enjoying it.
“On the Live Italian show, Castro and I do these challenges and whoever loses at the end has to cook the meal for the other person. And we brought a few people from each of the challenges we did along with us. So, we had this incredible feast which went on for about three or four hours.”
Over his career, Lawrence won 85 caps for England, and was part of the team that triumphed in the 2003 World Cup. He told Chris: “It’s a tough game. If I was choosing a career again, I wouldn’t choose to be a rugby player. I mean getting your face smashed in all over the world is overrated, I can assure you!
On facing Italy during his career, he added: “They always look the best, don’t they? The kit! I captained England against Italy in the first ever game of the Six Nations in 2000, which is 23 years ago, and I thought ‘Wow, the kit’s good!’
“And then the music starts and the [national] anthem! I thought we had a good anthem, which we do, but theirs, it goes on for a game.
“So, they sing, they love eating, they don’t mind the drop of the good stuff. I mean… perfect for rugby!”
Since retirement in 2008, the ex-rugby pro has worked as a pundit on television and radio, and will be commentating on this weekend’s Six Nations for ITV tomorrow. Speaking about Ireland, he told Chris: “They’re the number one site in the world. They’re unbeaten in the Six Nations. Tough game they’ve got up in Murrayfield against Scotland, but you just think that they’ll have enough.”
On England’s clash with France, he added: “France obviously come to Twickenham where they haven’t won for 18 years. I can’t quite believe that. They don’t travel well, the French, do they? But they’ve only lost once in the last 18 months. And you know, England are up against it.”
Live Italian premieres on Prime Video from today (10th March).