Dagg dropped as Carter starts for Crusaders

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 11:56 02/05/2013
Israel Dagg
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LOSS OF FORM: Israel Dagg has struggled to find his form since coming back from injury.

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An exasperated Todd Blackadder has dumped Israel Dagg because of poor form.

Fullback Dagg has been relegated to the Crusaders reserves for Sunday evening’s Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium following a string of average performances that culminated in him missing a number of tackles during last weekend’s 30-26 win over the Rebels.

Despite being the All Blacks’ incumbent No 15, Dagg’s reputation has been unable to save him being chopped by Blackadder. He has been replaced by Tom Taylor who is also expected to be given the goal kicking job after amassing 20 points with the boot against the Rebels.

‘‘It is just through poor form. He (Dagg) hasn’t been playing that well so we have decided to take him out of the playing 15,’’ Blackadder said.

Earlier this week Dagg acknowledged he was frustrated that he was not performing to expectations.

Since joining the franchise in 2011 he has battled to stitch together quality performances on a regular basis and Blackadder, who was annoyed following his side’s error-ridden display against the Rebels, has decided he can no longer pick his international fullback on reputation alone.

And he was brutally honest when asked if it was a difficult decision to axe the All Black.

‘‘Not really. It just comes down to form. Israel has had every opportunity to get out there and play well. He is not the only one who hasn’t played to his full potential so far but he has just been really inconsistent.

‘‘He even admitted himself he has not been on top of his game, so we have just decided to take him out of the hot seat and put him on the bench.’’

Earlier this week former All Blacks great Christian Cullen told Fairfax Media he believed Dagg would re-discover his mojo for the All Blacks and that his talent had not deserted him despite a number of average performances.

In the short-term Dagg will have to uphold his reputation when, or if, he takes the field against the Brumbies from the reserves bench.

‘‘He will get his opportunities to play his way back into this team,’’ Blackadder added. ‘‘But, right here and now, that opportunity is gone.’’

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By dumping Dagg, Blackadder has also fired out a message that no-one’s position is safe - even if they are an All Black with a lofty reputation.

Taylor, who last weekend played at second five-eighth, does not possess the brilliant counter-attacking ability of Dagg but he is a steady operator who will be charged with using his kicking from general play to ensure his side don’t get stuck inside their own quarter in Canberra.

‘‘He just does the simple basics really well - the simple things that Israel, I am sure, will be trying to get back to,’’ Blackadder noted. ‘‘It’s good - it is healthy, it is competition for spots. We see him as the best guy for the job this week.’’

Crusaders: Tom Taylor, Tom Marshall, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks,  Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Adam Whitelock, Israel Dagg. 

- Stuff

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