Australia prop James Slipper and New Zealand full-back Israel Dagg turn 24 and 25 respectively today. All the best to both these quality internationals.
Name: James Slipper
Born: June 6, 1989, Gold Coast, Australia
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 117 kg
Career start: February 2010
Education: The Southport School
A versatile prop, James' record 272 Pilecki Medal votes surpassed the previous mark set by Will Genia in 2011, polling in the top three for eight matches during the season including four of the last five critical rounds of the regular competition.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie summed up Slipper's 2012 performance and Pilecki Medal win: "To win the award as a prop is a massive accomplishment as the nature of the position and the value of their contribution is sometimes underrated by the general public who are naturally inclined to recognise the flashier involvements made by other players in games. However, James' set-piece work was a real highlight of his year, along with the physicality in which he approaches the defensive side of the game. He is also an extremely mobile and skilful player for a man of his size, and it's this unique combination which allows the team to be able to offer such variety in attack.
Name: Israel Dagg
Born: June 6, 1988 (age 25), Marton, New Zealand
Height: 1.86 m
Weight: 95 kg
Career start: 2006
Education: Lindisfarne College, New Zealand
Able to score from anywhere on the park, Dagg has an unerring eye for the try-line and all the speed to get there. He scored five tries at RWC 2011, including two each against Tonga and France in pool play. Dagg is also handy with the boot and can take over kicking duties.
His call-up to the All Blacks in 2010 capped a remarkable representative career that has also included New Zealand Schools, New Zealand U19 and New Zealand Sevens.
He made an immediate impact on the international stage, scoring match winning tries against the Springboks in Wellington and Soweto. He carried this remarkable form into the 2011 Super Rugby season, scoring seven tries before injuring his quadricep.
Dagg will play against France this weekend after being named at full-back.
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