Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fingertip does the trick as Crusaders win RICHARD KNOWLER 25/02/2012

Israel Dagg thought he had failed to stop Piri Weepu's drop goal last night.
Crusaders left wing Dagg, who got his fingers to Weepu's "droppie'' in a desperate attempt to foil the kick after the final hooter, was aghast when he turned around and saw the ball still heading towards the posts.
But when it spun away into the in-goal Dagg immediately hugged Wyatt Crockett to celebrate the Crusaders 19-18 win over the Blues in their Super opener.
"Yeah, I got my fingertips to it,'' Dagg said afterwards. "I came out of the defensive line and just got my timing right. I looked up and saw it heading towards the posts and just thought 'oh, come on' and luckily it dropped under.''
As he watched Weepu, who came on as a substitute at first five-eighth in the second spell, settle back in the pocket Dagg immediately knew he was shaping for a field goal.
"We knew what they were going to be doing. They have a similar plan to us. And when I saw him shape-up I just came up from the deep and tried to get there - and luckily I got some fingers on it.''
Dagg was desperate to make amends after his botched clearance in the first half, which was charged down by Chris Lowry, led to the Blues blindside flanker scoring his side's opening try.
"I had to make up for that half-pie kick that gave away that try.''
Having nursed his tender quadriceps throughout last year's World Cup, Dagg has been easing his way back into kicking duties. But when he got caught at first receiver he knew he had no option but to unleash a punt.
One of the heroes of the All Blacks' World Cup win, he was too sedate in clearing off his right boot and the pill ricocheted off Lowry.
"I was kind of in two minds. I haven't kicked all year and I thought I am going to have to kick a big one here. I shouldn't have really been there. But that is rugby.''

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