Crusaders bench Israel Dagg
May 2, 2013
Tom Taylor impressed against Melbourne Rebels © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has benched fullback Israel Dagg from the starting team to face the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Sunday, one of six changes - one positional - to the team that defeated Melbourne Rebels in Christchurch in Super Rugby round 11.
Blackadder has named Tom Taylor, a player he describes as a top kicker who does the basics well, at fullback in preference to Dagg.
"It just comes down to form and Israel has been really inconsistent," Blackadder said on Thursday. "So we've decided to take him out of the hot seat and sit him on the bench. He'll get his opportunity to play his way back into the team but, right now, that opportunity has gone."
Dagg, 24, has struggled to find his attacking verve this season, most notably in the four games since returning from a hamstring injury. Match statistics also show he missed all four of his attempted tackles against the Rebels.
Dan Carter, meanwhile, has been promoted from the bench to make his first start since the birth of his first child, while Ryan Crotty has returned to second five-eighth with Robbie Fruean back at outside centre.
Wyatt Crockett returns at loose-head prop while Andy Ellis replaces Willi Heinz at scrum-half.
There is still no return for All Blacks No. 8 Kieran Read, who will miss a fifth game because of his injured toe.
Blackadder says the Crusaders need to produce a full 80-minute performance against the competition leaders who have won seven and drawn two of their 10 games.
"The analysis we've done on them is that they are a complete side. They are very efficient and economical and it (Canberra Stadium) is always a tough place to go," he said. "We know we have to play well and have to bring the same mentality like we did against the Stormers."
Crusaders: Tom Taylor; Tom Marshall, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford; Dan Carter, Andy Ellis; Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock (captain); Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano; Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Adam Whitelock, Israel Dagg.
© Sportal and AAP
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape