Dagg aims for World Cup place after recovering from injury
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg hopes to seize his chance to get into the World Cup squad after recovering...
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg hopes to seize his chance to get into the World Cup squad after recovering from a rare injury when New Zealand take on South Africa in a Tri-Nations test on Saturday.
Dagg underwent surgery after rupturing a tendon in his right thigh in May and thought he would not be playing again in time for the World Cup on home ground in September and October.
"When I ruptured the tendon, I thought the dream was over, all my World Cup hopes had ended," the 22-year-old told reporters in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
"There were only two case studies on that type of injury in the world, one from America in the NFL and one from Australia in the AFL. Nobody seemed to know what to do, but I just had to have faith in what the medical staff were saying."
With regular fullback Mils Muliaina among seven frontline All Blacks left at home for the test against the Springboks, Dagg is likely to be in the number 15 jersey on Saturday and he knows he needs to make his mark if he is to be included in New Zealand's World Cup squad, which will be announced on Aug. 23.
"It's been quite a big travel getting over here but I'm excited to be here and to get the opportunity," said Dagg, who has won six caps.
"It's up to me to take it, to put my stake in the ground. The coaches showed faith in me by picking me even though I didn't play the last half of the Super 15; the medical staff had good plans in place, and I need to repay them. It's my only opportunity and I've just got to do it.
"There are always doubts, but you need to get past them. I played a game for Hawke's Bay at the weekend and I kicked the ball as hard as I could and it felt good," added Dagg, who scored match-winning tries against the Springboks in Wellington and Soweto last year.