Dagg still a wing option 4 Mar 2013
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Crusaders attack coach Tabai Matson has not discounted the possibility of arguably the world's best fullback, Israel Dagg, again playing on the left wing in the week four Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday night.
Dagg, despite having a try harshly ruled out by the TMO against the Blues last Friday, was largely ineffective as an attacking force and three of the Blues five tries in their 34-15 win were scored down his flank.
The Crusaders looked far more threatening on attack in the last quarter when Dagg returned to fullback and Tom Taylor, who had a shaky night under the high ball, moved into the midfield.
Matson, while admitting the backline showed shortcomings, defended Dagg at the Crusaders training on Monday.
"One of the things we talk about often is people playing in positions that don't often suit them for the greater good of the team. Izzy [Dagg] did a great job on the night and can definitely do the job again for us there."
Whether Dagg is thrust into that position may well depend on how quickly two versatile outside backs, Johnny McNicholl and Kurt Baker, recover from injuries which kept them out last week. McNicholl (back) trained last week and will be monitored closely over the next three days while Baker [hamstring] is also back training fully.
A non-starter is All Blacks lock Luke Romano, who went off with a rib cartilage injury against the Blues inside the first quarter.
"He's been X-rayed and it is not as serious as we first thought, but he's definitely out this week. How long we're not sure but he's recovering quickly."
Matson and Aaron Mauger have been entrusted with preparing the Crusaders offensive plan but few innovations were seen in their opening loss to the Blues. Matson said they would not shy away from a new brand of attack but admitted that the Crusaders had to adapt and learn to play all styles.
"Every game is different in its own right and we're looking to do different things. The Blues defence was outstanding and we were a little ineffective mainly at the breakdown. It doesn't matter what you're trying to play if you're not effective there.
"When the Blues are in that mood they're tough so a lot of credit has to go to their ability on the night. We treat this Friday as another game against another team and our focus is to play our A game which we didn't do last week."
Pictures by Getty Images
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