Oz dy­ing for Bledis­loe: Dagg

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Oseab@fi­jisun.com.fj

New Zealand full­back Is­rael Dagg said his side are ‘dy­ing’ to keep the Bledis­loe Cup ahead of their Rugby Cham­pi­onship clash with Aus­tralia in Syd­ney on Satur­day. The All Blacks have re­tained the cup for 13 years in a row and Dagg says they know that the Wal­la­bies are des­per­ate to win it back.

“There’s a lot of ex­pec­ta­tion, you know, New Zealand and Aus­tralia, Bledis­loe Cup, it doesn’t get any big­ger,” Dagg said.

“There’s that spe­cial tro­phy that Aus­tralia are dy­ing for and we are dy­ing to keep so it’s go­ing to be so it’s go­ing to be tough out there. “Guys are go­ing to be throw­ing their bod­ies around and there’s go­ing to be times when we’re go­ing to be un­der pres­sure, but that’s why we play the game be­cause you want to be at the top, you want to be play­ing the best play­ers out there and do­ing it with your mates. “When it gets to the 80th minute and you’ve played well and you’ve de­fended your hearts out, that’s when you get the en­joy­ment of re­ally go­ing to bat­tle with your mates. Then when you do score some tries you can hot dog like Beau­den Bar­rett or Brodie Re­tal­lick.” Dagg said his re-emer­gence as a top-flight foot­baller has come from just en­joy­ing his rugby op­posed to putting too much pres­sure on him­self. “For me, all year has been about hav­ing fun and get­ting out there and just ex­press­ing your­self. This is why we play the game; we want to grab the ball, run around and have some fun with your mates.

- Planet Rugby

Catch first, think later. That is the mantra Is­rael Fo­lau has adopted as he braces for a bar­rage of bombs from the All Blacks in the first Bledis­loe Cup Test on Satur­day.

The Wal­la­bies su­per­star is set to be named at full­back de­spite play­ing out­side cen­tre for the Waratahs this year, and with the All Blacks hav­ing suc­cess­fully tar­geted Fo­lau in pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters by putting up high balls and swarm­ing him with de­fend­ers so he is not a threat in counter-at­tack. But Fo­lau says his only con­cern is do­ing the job he is the world’s best at; catch­ing the high ball. “You can’t re­ally do much if the kicks are pin­point ac­cu­rate,” Fo­lau said. “My job dur­ing that time is ob­vi­ously to catch the ball and af­ter that, if it is a good kick, they get time to get de­fend­ers right on you. My first job is to catch the ball, and I think about what I can do af­ter that. “They have some great kick­ers in their team, right from the base there with Aaron Smith. It’s go­ing to be a tough job for the guys at the back.” Fo­lau has won a host of tro­phies in his league and union ca­reers, but re­mains ex­as­per­ated at never hav­ing won a Bledis­loe se­ries like the rest of his team­mates.

“It hurts a lot, it gives us a bit more mo­ti­va­tion to want to go out there and give ev­ery­thing that we have, not only for the team, but for the rest of the coun­try,” Fo­lau said. “It’s al­ways a proud mo­ment to pull on the Wal­laby jer­sey, but you want to go out there and leave it all out there.”

Fo­lau re­it­er­ated that it is the All Blacks, not the Wal­la­bies, who will be un­der all the pres­sure in this Test hav­ing held the Bledis­loe Cup for 13 con­sec­u­tive years. “We’re the un­der­dog, there’s no pres­sure at all from our end,” Fo­lau said. “You don’t think about how long it has been.”- Her­ald Sun

Busi­ness Day. “Hav­ing beaten SA last year‚ it would be great to beat them again‚ and to start (the com­pe­ti­tion) with a vic­tory.” The Ar­gen­tine loose-for­ward added that from the Boks’ se­ries with Ire­land it is clear they want to play with ball in hand. “You can see that SA is now play­ing more with the ball (in hand) ‚ and not the old di­rect and phys­i­cal game. They have new moves‚ play­ing the ball more and play­ing a more dy­namic game‚“added Mat­era.Sport24

Le­in­ster head coach Leo Cullen has con­firmed that Isa Nacewa has been se­lected as the Ir­ish prov­ince’s club cap­tain for the 2016/17 sea­son. Nacewa was ini­tially ap­pointed to the role last sea­son on a tem­po­rary ba­sis when Kevin McLaugh­lin was forced to re­tire from the game af­ter only one round of the PRO12. The ap­point­ment was made per­ma­nent for the re­main­der of the sea­son af­ter the Rugby World Cup. Com­ment­ing on the ap­point­ment Cullen said: “Isa made a su­perb con­tri­bu­tion to the club on his re­turn last sea­son. He stepped up bril­liantly in Kev’s ab­sence and then just grew into the role as the sea­son went on”.

The for­mer Fiji in­ter­na­tional scored nine tries in 23 games upon his re­turn to Le­in­ster colours last sea­son but missed out on a place in the PRO12 Final against Con­nacht due to an arm in­jury.

-Planet Rugby

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