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ISRAEL DAGG’S defence is under
the spotlight following last
Friday’s 26-29
loss to the Hur-
Former Can-
terbury and All
Black fullback
Fergie McCor-
mick (right),
said Dagg’s All
Blacks spot
might be up for
grabs if his de-
fensive woes continue.
His achilles heel was exposed
when Hurricanes wing Alapati
Leiua brushed past the Crusaders’
defenders, including Dagg, on his
way to scoring the match-winning
Said McCormick, a tough, crash-
tackling fullback: “Why doesn’t
Dagg come up and tackle (Leiua)?
He’s only five metres away from
him – why didn’t he go and get him?
Why does he wait for him to
McCormick, who played 16 tests
for the All Blacks, said he didn’t
agree that poor defence by the Cru-
sader wings was putting pressure on
Dagg as the last line of defence.
“Dagg will never go off with a sore
shoulder through tackling,” he said.
“How many tackles has he missed
in his career? How many times has
he been run over? I don’t blame him
for that, but why do these young
fellas wait for a big fella to get up
McCormick said if Dagg’s defence
did not get better he would struggle
to retain his All Blacks spot.
“Tere’s three or four fullbacks
knocking on the door at the mo-
ment,” he said, singling out High-
lander Ben Smith and Hurricanes’
Andre Taylor for praise.
But McCormick said the Crusad-
ers’ shaky start to the season wasn’t
necessarily cause for panic.
“We were going to get beaten some
time, we’ve been on top for so many
years,” he said.
Te Crusaders have not finished
outside of the top four since 2001,
and based on results so far, that 12-
year golden run is looking vulner-
McCormick said the Crusad-
ers’ biggest issue is their inability to
“Mistakes at vital times have cost
the Crusaders points. A few times
we’ve been on attack and failed to
convert it into a try or penalty.”
Te Crusaders have only scored
nine tries this season, which leaves
them tied for joint-least with the
“When you’re on attack and not
getting points – something’s not
right there,” he said.
Te Crusaders’ next game is on
Sunday morning against the Lions
in Johannesburg.
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