REMEMBER the song Take the Money and Run which Kiwi entertainer Bunny Walters belted out on a regular basis back in the 1970s?

It was a popular party song and no doubt one Hawke's Bay All Black Israel Dagg's parents Peter Dagg and Horiana Nukutarawhiti heard when they were growing up. If reports in Britain are correct it appears Dagg, 28, is preparing to take some of Walters' advice.

The reports state Irish club Leinster as well as glamour French club Toulon and other Top 14 clubs are chasing the Lindisfarne College product's signature. It is understood Dagg met with Leinster club officials while in Dublin last week.

If these reports are accurate it would be perfect timing for Dagg just as so often has been the case when he has opted to join the backline from the fullback position not only in All Black colours but in Crusaders and Magpies colours as well. Three-time European champions Leinster have a place open with South African Zane Kirchner out of contract at the end of the current northern season.


The fact Dagg returned to peak form this year after missing out on World Cup selection last year means he can command some large pay cheques.

As Magpies head coach Craig Philpott said: "Izzy has been in superb form for the All Blacks this year ... one of their better players."

While Philpott hasn't heard from Dagg and isn't sure what he's thinking about, he said wouldn't be surprised if the veteran of 50 first-class games for the Magpies was pondering such moves.

"Izzy's non-selection for the All Blacks last year proved you're not always guaranteed a berth regardless of how much history there has been."

Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union CEO Mike Bishop also hasn't had any communication with Dagg but admitted he wasn't surprised by the reports.

"Izzy is obviously looking at his options beyond next year's British and Irish Lions tour. He is on top of his game and he has proved he can cover more than one position at the highest level," Bishop said referring to Dagg's ability to play fullback and wing.

"It is the right time in his life to take up those sort of offers ... he will make more money overseas than he will playing more tests after the British and Irish Lions tour commitments are over."

Bishop pointed out if Dagg did decide to leave he would go with the Hawke's Bay union's blessing.


"Izzy first played for us when he was still at school in 2006 and has done ever since. It's an incredible display of loyalty ... he has been a fantastic ambassador for rugby and Hawke's Bay in particular."

Dagg is off contract with Hawke's Bay and Bishop described his union as "the third spoke in the wheel" of Dagg's contract behind the New Zealand union and the Crusaders.

A 2001 Hastings East Ross Shield player, Dagg, played the first of his 60 tests in 2010. Should he continue this year's hot form, gain All Black selection and help the ABs win a test series against the Lions there would be few other feats left for the 2011 World Cup winner to tick off in ABs colours.

The battle to secure Dagg's signature could prove to be more entertaining than some of Kiwi Joseph Parker's recent one-sided heavyweight boxing bouts. Leinster have a tough process to complete as the Ireland union has taken a tougher stance on imported players as they look to develop Irish talent.

French clubs are traditionally more relaxed and often move quickly to secure their targets, particularly ones with CVs as impressive as Dagg who didn't get to turn out in Magpies colours this year because of his international commitments but played six games for the side last year before an injury ended his season. Regardless of where he ends up next year his Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports Club is unlikely to have his services in the near future unless he needs to play his way back from injury as was the case when Dagg tasted Maddison Trophy glory in 2011.