Dagg: Crusaders aiming to limit Folau's impact

17:00, Jul 31 2014
Israel Folau
HARD TO STOP: The Crusaders will keeping a close watch on Waratahs dangerman Israel Folau.

Putting the boot away could be the key to keeping Waratahs dangerman Israel Folau quiet in tomorrow's Super Rugby final in Sydney against the Crusaders.

The Crusaders' gameplan of using attacking kicks was highly successful against the Sharks in last week's semifinal victory, but that could change as the visitors look to take the Folau factor out of the equation.

Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg admits things could go ''really wrong'' if Folau gets plenty of ball to run back at the Crusaders.

''We don't want to give him any options to counter attack so we won't be kicking it straight down his throat.''

Dagg did not elaborate on whether that meant keeping the ball in hand more as ''that would be telling the gameplan''.

''We've spoken about it and worked really hard on our kick chase line and things like that so, if he wants to have a run, we'll back our defence.


''We'll play our own game and look to keep him out of the game.''

The back-in-form Dagg has played against Folau ''about four or five times'' and said he is a hard man to bring down.

''He's just so big and powerful so he's pretty tough to tackle, but I've got full confidence in our boys that we can handle him.''

Tomorrow will be Dagg's first Super Rugby final after he missed the 2011 final loss to the Reds in Brisbane with a quadriceps injury.

Naturally he would love to win the title, but has tried not to think too much about it.

''Obviously it would be really special to lift that trophy and we've given ourselves a really great opportunity, but you try not to think about it because you get nervous and play the game [early].

''We know it's going to be a hell of a challenge and it's going to be really tough, but we are confident we can go over there and do the job.''

The Crusaders have not played the Waratahs yet this season, but Dagg said they had done their video analysis and have watched the Waratahs throughout the year so know what to expect.

And Folau is not the only concern for the Crusaders backline.

''They're all quality, whoever gets the ball can be pretty deadly,'' Dagg said.

''Guys like [Bernard] Foley, [Kurtley] Beale, [Nick] Phipps, [Adam] Ashley-Cooper, they're all international quality players.

''We're going to have to be on our best defence and work hard for each other and its going to take a full 80-minute performance.''

The Crusaders backline also faces the prospect of the Waratahs having inside information, with former player and assistant coach Daryl Gibson now on the Sydneysiders' coaching staff.

But Dagg was dismissive of the factor and said it ''doesn't mean anything''.

''Obviously Gibbo [Gibson] has been around for a while and he's been around the traps and they might know a few things, but we back ourselves to nail and, if they can stop it, well that's good on them.

''We just worry about ourselves and our game.''

The Press