Rugby: Dagg back starting for Crusaders

All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg has been recalled to the Crusaders starting XV for Friday night's clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton. Photo / Getty Images.
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg has been recalled to the Crusaders starting XV for Friday night's clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton. Photo / Getty Images.

All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg has been recalled to the Crusaders starting XV for Friday night's clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Dagg has been used as an impact player off the reserves bench for the past two matches _ wins over the Brumbies and Blues.

Concerns over his form and lack of confidence led to Todd Blackadder's decision to leave him out of the "hot seat'' as he called it, but a rejig of his midfield has opened the door for Dagg to return.

Regular centre Robbie Fruean has made way for Ryan Crotty, with Tom Taylor moving from fullback to second-five. Fruean could provide an impact off the bench at Waikato Stadium.

Hooker Corey Flynn, who strained a hamstring when warming up for the 23-3 victory over the Blues at AMI Stadium, has been ruled out, with Codie Taylor starting. Ben Funnell, who wore the No2 jersey against the Blues but injured a knee, has been bracketed with Taranaki's Laurence Corlett.

Adam Whitelock has been ruled out with a knee injury and has been replaced on the reserves bench by Telusa Veianu.

Friday's match will be the first time the New Zealand heavyweights have met this season. They face each other again in Christchurch on July 5.

Crusaders team to play the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium on Friday, kick-off at 7.35pm is: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Ryan Crotty, Tom Taylor, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell/Laurence Corlett, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Robbie Fruean, Telusa Veianu.

- APNZ

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