Israel Dagg will make his long-awaited injury return on the wing when the unbeaten Crusaders face the Rebels in Melbourne tomorrow.

The 28-year-old Dagg went down with a right knee injury against the Reds in March and has missed more than two months of Super Rugby action, but will line up on the right wing against a mediocre Rebels side.

Dagg told media he isn't going to get worked up about whether he will make the All Blacks' 33-man squad for the series against the Lions.

"I am not even going to worry about that, to be honest," Dagg said. "It will be a great birthday present if I get there - I turn 29 on June 6 and am not getting any younger - but I know what I've got to do. I've got to be fast, play well."


Dagg has had support from All Blacks assistant coaches Ian Foster and Wayne Smith.

"They have just been telling me to get out there and be decisive," Dagg said.

"I know I just have to get that ball, carry hard, chase the kicks - whatever."

Coach Scott Robertson has used the trip to Victoria to rest a number of key men, including Matt Todd, Ryan Crotty, Owen Franks and Codie Taylor, while loosehead Joe Moody and lock Luke Romano will start on the bench.

As a result, veteran Wyatt Crockett will start in the No1 jumper, with Michael Alaalatoa at tighthead and Ben Funnell between them.

Quinten Strange joins skipper Sam Whitelock in the second row, while Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Pete Samu and Jordan Taufua make up the loose forward trio.

Jed Brown has overcome injury in time to take a place on the bench, while test skipper Kieran Read remains on the sidelines with a broken thumb.

In the midfield, Seta Tamanivalu slips back into his traditional centre role after spending much of 2017 on the wing, with Tim Bateman at second-five.