Israel Dagg cannot remember his sleeping pill-induced bender during the 2011 World Cup.
The All Blacks fullback yesterday confirmed he and team-mate Cory Jane popped some tablets to see who could stay awake the longest. Then, 72 hours before the All Blacks were to play Argentina in their quarterfinal at Eden Park in Auckland, it all went horribly wrong. Following a massage, the pair left their room, went to get something to eat and ended up in a Takapuna bar, surprising patrons with their dishevelled state and slurring their words. Jane stunned onlookers by lighting a cigarette.
Yesterday, an embarrassed Dagg admitted he had no recollection of that evening. "Not one bit, no not at all," Dagg said.
"When I found out I was blown away and shocked. I was pretty embarrassed, too - in front of your family, in front of your country.
"You just can't go doing that; you are role models for kids out there," Dagg said.
One drinker in the bar told media Dagg admitted to him he had no idea where he had been earlier that evening.
"We didn't have any intention to go to town and do what we did.
"But one thing led to another, and I remember waking up and we didn't even know we went to town," Dagg said.
He was injured and unavailable for the quarterfinal. He returned the following weekend to produce a fine performance against the Wallabies in the semifinal.
Unlike the Kiwis rugby league team, who have been investigated by the New Zealand Rugby League for using energy drinks with sleeping pills to get a buzz, Dagg and Jane both said they did not guzzle energy drinks.
It was left to others to tell them what they had done that evening.
"Then it started slowly coming out. When it all came out I was blown away," Dagg said.
He said he had not repeated the stunt of taking sleeping pills as a recreational pastime and did not know who instigated the idea.
"Boys are going to be boys and try these things. It is not the brightest thing to do but we did it and we are paying for it.
"We have had three years to learn from that mistake."
Sleeping pills are often used by rugby players to acclimatise to different time zones. Dagg was not surprised the story was leaked to the media after a series of reports about the NZRL and the New Zealand Rugby Union investigating their employees for ingesting the tablets for the wrong reasons.
He denied it was a problem within the All Blacks or Crusaders Super Rugby team.
"I'm happy it's out there and I'm not hiding anything from that night. We made a stupid decision and we're paying for it. It could have cost us the World Cup."
Jane said the incident had been "embarrassing" and "scary".
"Yep and I learned my lesson.
"It's never good having your name put up in the paper for being a boozer or doing something stupid, especially in the World Cup ahead of one of the biggest games we had to play."
- The Press