Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

First take: Dagg wasted on the wing

Israel Dagg of the Crusaders is tackled by Damian de Allende (L) and Daniel Vermeulen of the Stormers. Photo / Getty Images.
Israel Dagg of the Crusaders is tackled by Damian de Allende (L) and Daniel Vermeulen of the Stormers. Photo / Getty Images.

The Crusaders won't get close to winning the Super title playing as they did against the Stormers.

They are well in the hunt for another title though - worst backline in the SANZAR competition.

Read: Crusaders pinch late win

Under-siege Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder could do a lot worse than going back to basics and returning All Black fullback Israel Dagg to his rightful position in the No. 15 jersey.

If there was a rampaging alternative to Dagg, then maybe fair enough.

But Colin Slade offers nothing remarkable or even adequate at this level. Dagg deserves to find his form where he has made his name. In the process, his experience can help get the Crusaders back on track. Dagg is wasted on the wing.

The Crusaders are paying for a complacent, inward-looking recruitment policy which has failed to keep up with the attacking standards of the competition.

They don't have the backline firepower and it will leave them short as title contenders.
With their backs to the wall, and a home crowd ready to stir them on, they failed to spark until the final stages, and even then it wasn't all that impressive.

The Stormers must be kicking themselves though, inexplicably failing to set up a late drop goal attempt when victory beckoned.

The stodgy visitors were superbly organised and committed in Christchurch, but couldn't take the obvious route in the final minutes.

In doing so, they eased the pressure on Blackadder's regime. But the once mighty Crusaders are a long way from being out of the woods yet.

- NZ Herald

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