Dagg and Guildford in ABs for Canada cruncher


 It's a line-up Hawke's Bay rugby fans have been waiting for ... Magpies teammates Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford in the same All Black starting XV.

The pair have been named as wingers for the All Blacks final World Cup pool game against Canada in Wellington on Sunday. It will be Guildford's first World Cup appearance.

Their only previous appearance in the same All Black team came in last year's test against Ireland in New Plymouth when Dagg made his debut at fullback and Guildford took the field as a second half replacement for former Magpie Cory Jane. The last time the pair played together this season was for the Magpies against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua last month when the pair scored three tries between them in the Magpies 32-13 win.

While they were fullback and wing respectively that day there is potential for them to create similar havoc on Sunday in a clash the All Blacks should win by at least 30 points.

Dagg has been in sensational form for the All Blacks to date at the World Cup in the fullback position but his switch to the wing for Sunday's game allows Mils Muliaina to play his 99th test for the ABs.

Guildford's mother Deb and grandparents June and Frank Burt of Featherston will be among the spectators in the Cake Tin.

"Mum and Dad have only been to one All Blacks game before so they are pretty excited," said Deb who was among the spectators as the All Blacks beat France in Auckland last weekend.

"Dad is Zac's No. 1 fan as most grandfathers are."

This morning's All Black team announcement brought back memories of a placard Dagg's mother Horiana had at a Magpies game in 2007 when the pair were playing together.

It read: "Bring on the 2011 World Cup for Izzy and Zac."

Magpies co-coach Peter Russell was thrilled to see the pair starting and in particular Guildford receiving his first start in the Cup.

"Zac knows a top performance could enhance his chances of more game time at the Cup," Russell said.

"We all know what he can do and now is the time for him to do it ... Zac is a world class winger."

Other features of the ABs backline are Sonny Bill Williams at second five-eighth, and Jimmy Cowan starting at halfback in what will be his 50th test.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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