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Dagg's hunger brings All Blacks recall

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/05/2016 Robert Lowe

I Israel Dagg © Getty Images Israel Dagg

srael Dagg credits a renewed hunger for his recall to the All Blacks after the pain of missing out on last year's Rugby World Cup.

The fullback's inclusion in the Test squad for the three-match series against Wales comes on the back of some sparkling form for Super Rugby leaders the Crusaders after a shoulder injury delayed his start to the season.

"I've just gone out there and shown a bit of hunger and desire to play some footy," he said.

"I'm really enjoying where I am at the moment and just wanting to have fun."

Dagg, 27, has earned 49 caps and was part of the All Blacks 2011 World Cup-winning campaign.

But in an injury-hit 2015, he missed the cut for the defence of the Webb Ellis Cup and then sat out for six months after picking up the shoulder injury while playing for Hawke's Bay.

He admits there has been mindset change this year.

"The last couple years, I probably took it a bit too seriously," he said.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself and, when you're trying to push things, that's probably when it goes a bit pear-shaped.

"For me, this year, I'm just in a really happy state and very grateful to be playing some footy. When I'm not thinking, I'm probably playing my best rugby."

Coach Steven Hansen describes Dagg's selection as "pretty much a no-brainer".

He said Dagg looked sharp, had always been good under the high ball and had improved his defence.

"He had a season last year where he was affected by injury and just ran out of time to prove to us he was ready to go for the World Cup," Hansen said.

"But like a lot of guys who get a decent off-season, he has come back and played extremely well."

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