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Dagg makes resounding All Blacks return

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/06/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

June 18, 2016: NZ's Israel Dagg makes a run against Ross Moriarty of Wales during the International Test match © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images June 18, 2016: NZ's Israel Dagg makes a run against Ross Moriarty of Wales during the International Test match Julian Savea faces a stiff challenge to reclaim his All Blacks wing berth following an emphatic return to Test rugby from Israel Dagg.

Nearly a year after his previous Test, fullback Dagg produced a blinding all-round performance in New Zealand's 36-22 win over Wales in the second Test at Wellington.

The 28-year-old celebrated his 50th Test by scoring the first of his team's five tries, and looked sharp with ball in hand.

Dagg was also faultless with his positional play on a breezy night and punted with trademark distance.

Assistant coach Ian Foster praised Dagg for bouncing back from the disappointment of missing selection for last year's World Cup.

"He's always been a great punter and in those windy conditions, he dealt with that really well and relieved a lot of key times.

"It was good to see him running with the ball and looking for a few opportunities."

Dagg's selection in a reshuffled back three came at the expense of an out-of-form Savea, who has scored 39 tries from 42 Tests.

Savea may struggle to usurp wingers Ben Smith and Waisake Naholo for Saturday's third Test in Dunedin. Both scored tries and have looked threatening throughout the series.

A tired but happy Dagg praised Smith and Naholo for helping him find his feet again at Test level, particularly through their communication.

"As a back three, we just wanted to keep talking the whole game, even if we were talking rubbish," he said.

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