Steve Hansen has given Isreal Dagg a second life with his inclusion in the starting 15 for Saturday’s test match against Argentina.
Dagg who was dropped for the first two test against Australia was a somewhat surprised inclusion at the expense of Cory Jane. Dagg will play at full-back this Saturday. New Zeeland will also start with Beauden Barrett at the number ten jumper for the injured Aaron Cruden, while Ma’a Nonu takes the his place in the team at inside centre at the expense of Ryan Crotty who is injured.
“The selectors felt this was the right time to give Israel an opportunity,” Hansen said. ”We also want to make it clear that his selection is not a reflection on Cory Jane’s play, as we have been very happy with his performances.”
One of the exciting selections is Barrett who get’s a well deserved change at fly half. The decision was made easy with Cruden being injured but Barrett can make Hansen job much more difficult for the test against the Springboks as Cruden will be expected to be fit again.
”Aaron could have played but the selectors weren’t prepared to take the risk of him re-injuring himself and being out for a long period,” Hansen said.
Hansen and his selectors kept the same pack that dominated the Wallabies. Hansen has however freshened up the bench with Jeremy Thrush and Joe Moody included, along with Colin Slade as fly-half cover.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Malakai Fekitoa.