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All Blacks expecting plenty from Australia

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    17 Aug 2016     Getty Images

The first of three games for the trans-Tasman jewel, it will be followed by games next week in Wellington and in Auckland in October, will set the scene for the Test season.

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Australia haven't held it since 2002 and Dagg said as always there were great expectations and pressures heading into the new series.

"It doesn't get any bigger," he told media in Sydney.

"There's a special trophy that Australia are dying for and we are dying to keep, 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 under pressure but that's why we play the game because you want to be at the top," he said.

Selection for the game, the side is announced on Thursday, would cap a significant comeback for Dagg who struggled with injuries since missing out on last year's Rugby World Cup.

He was given a chance in the June series against Wales and took it.
"In June I was very lucky to get an opportunity in the second Test and the third Test but for me it's been about having fun and getting out there expressing yourself.

"This year I'm just really enjoying it, playing footy, representing my country and this is where every kid wants to be.

"It's all about getting the preparation during the week, nailing what I have to do out there for the team and perform, and then just nailing my core roles during the week and during the game.

"If I can do that, the flashy stuff just comes. I just need to nail the basics," he said.

Dagg said Test rugby was about playing the best players in the world alongside your mates.
"When it gets to the 80th minute and you've played well and you've defended your hearts out, that's where you get enjoyment out of, just really going to battle with your mates," he said.

The All Blacks knew what to expect from Australia, they would be hurting after their June series loss to England and they would look to try and test the All Blacks with new ploys.

"They've had a few weeks preparing for this so we fully know what to expect from them. They're going to come out firing," he said.