Dagg relishing All Blacks return

Date published: May 30 2016

Crusaders full-back Israel Dagg knows he must continue to work on his game if he wants to win his 50th Test cap for the All Blacks against Wales next month.

The 27-year-old was recalled to the All Blacks squad – after he was left out of their squad for last year’s triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign – for the three-Test series and he revealed that he would not change the approach which has helped him deliver several impressive performances for the Crusaders this year.

“I know there’s going to be pressure coming into this environment and pressure in games if I get that opportunity,” Dagg told Fairfax Media.

“But for me it’s just keeping it the same, and keep chipping away and working hard to be better.”

After missing out on selection to last year’s World Cup-winning squad, Dagg’s misery was further compounded when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury – during a provincial match for Hawke’s Bay – which forced him to do some serious soul searching.

“I had a lot of time to myself, did a lot of jet-boating, did a lot of seeing the world, and had a great holiday,” he added.

“I just got away from everything, so when I came back I was chomping at the bit to get out there and play some footy.

“It was just getting the right mindset and getting out there and putting a smile on my dial and having fun. That’s what it’s all about – just getting out there and being positive and backing yourself and having confidence.

“If you don’t back yourself, you’re probably not going to play as well as you can.”