Israel Dagg says he was ‘gutted’ to miss out on All Black selection for the RWC, and it came as a shock to many others as well.
Dagg was part of the victorious 2011 All Black squad that won the World Cup but has been overlooked in favor of Waisake Naholo for this years tournament.
Naholo’s rapid recovery from a leg injury has been enough for the selectors to give him a chance, at the expense of Dagg who was one of the big omissions in the 31-man squad.
Dagg has had an up and down couple of years in Super Rugby and missed a lot of the Crusaders campaign through injury this season.
Dagg, unlike his replacement, has proven form in the All Blacks jersey, especially under the high ball and with the boot.
Many rugby critics have questioned Dagg’s omission.
Dagg has played 48 tests for the All Blacks and has scored 14 times. The ability to step past defense plus a long territorial punting game has been a big part of the All Blacks success in recent years and has kept Dagg in the squad as a regular,
Dagg’s experience in crunch time situations is a big asset to have on the field.
Dagg was a key part of the All Blacks unbeaten run a couple of seasons ago, and during RWC 2011 he setup the crucial try against the Wallabies in the semi final.
Naholo’s match fitness is not up to the level of Dagg’s; clearly the All Black selectors have given Naholo the nod due to his sensational ability to score tries, but experience wise, it is a hard pill to swallow for many an All Black fan to see one of the sides most experienced players left out.
Dagg recently notched a hat trick in ITM Cup Rugby and many thought that given game time, Dagg would be back to his lavish best, so taking him to the World Cup would have been a decision with little argument.
Dagg is one of the unluckiest players to miss the World Cup and he will be seriously regretting not being able to make more of a mark in 2015 because of injury.