Israel Dagg will finally get his start with the All Blacks this weekend against Argentina, after being left out of the Bledisloe Cup matches in favour of Ben Smith as fullback. Dagg will be looking to put his best foot forward.
It was smiles all round for one of Ngāti Kahungunu's favourite sons, Israel Dagg, who gets to play his first All Blacks test on his very own home soil.
According to head coach, Steve Hansen, “We know he's a world class player and here's an opportunity for him to play where he should be excited and we should get a good performance from him.”
With a stellar performance from Ben Smith in the fullback position, this weekend's game is now a vital opportunity for Dagg to raise the bar even more if he's to keep his starting position.
Israel Dagg says, “Having support back home is awesome.”
Other changes to the starting line-up will see Beauden Barrett make his first test start as first-five after Aaron Cruden is left out due to a chest injury.
“Talking to the medical staff, there was a risk that if we played him, that if he got caught in a compromised tackle, that he might do it again,” says Steve Hansen,
It's a risk they weren't willing to take with him. Ma'a Nonu is back in the number 12 jersey as Ryan Crotty recovers from a fractured facial bone. Predicted weather woes on game night won't dampen the All Black tactics or the packed house of supporters.