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Dagg finds wing helps his defensive play

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Lynn McConnell     13 Sep 2016     Getty Images

Having forced his way back into the side with some key performances at fullback for the Crusaders, Dagg started the international season at fullback but the form of Ben Smith demanded he play in that position while Dagg was moved to the right wing.

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In reality he said it was all about getting a place in the team, any place, and since being named on the wing he has made a fair fist of it, especially in the absence through injury of Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Dagg said playing on the wing had one major difference and that was being in the defensive line a lot more than fullback.

"You probably make a few more tackles and I'm quite enjoying it because it gives me an opportunity to work on my defence with the players around me. It gets fairly lonely back at fullback so it is good to be up in the line. I'm just enjoying playing to be honest wherever it is in this team. I just want to be playing."

As regards his long distance penalty goal in Hamilton on Saturday he said he had been waiting for the opportunity and had mentioned to kicker Beauden Barrett if the distance was 40m plus to give him a chance because if he missed it didn't matter.

"It's not too serious, I'm just going to keep chipping away. It's something good to add to your bow and hopefully I'll get better at it.

"I just enjoy kicking," he said.

The All Blacks were preparing for South Africa mindful of the history between the two sides and were not worried about the Springboks' recent record.

South Africa's backs were very exciting, they were young, new and Jesse Kriel was a great player and Elton Jantjies could create things from nothing, he said.

"We've got the utmost respect for them, we know they can punish teams from anywhere."

And Bryan Habana sniffed out tries and was always dangerous, Dagg said.

Lock Brodie Retallick said he enjoyed every Test match and it was about having fun because if you were enjoying what you were doing you were probably playing your best rugby.

"Obviously it is always a real challenge against South Africa not only at set-piece time but they are very mobile and they've picked up their game and are spreading the ball a lot wider and playing some more rugby.

"That physical battle is always something that excites the forward pack so it is going to be similar to the last five years of Test matches we've played against them. It's going to be pretty brutal and fast at the same time," he said.

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Retallick said there had been a couple of miss-throws at the lineout against Argentina and they didn't quite get the timing right and this week it had been about getting clarity and putting plays together with a bit more speed under a bit more pressure.

While big lock Lood de Jager was out of the game, there was still great speed in the South African lineout so the All Blacks needed to be 'bang on', he said. Issues in Hamilton had been an easy fix, because the lineout had been going well until then.

The set piece was huge for the All Black game and it was the way to strike.

"If we're not winning clean ball for our backs then it makes it very hard to get in the game and for them we are trying to disrupt as much of their ball so hopefully we can get a bit of a jump in defence. It is going to be huge.

"They've got a very powerful scrum and they've pushed a few teams off the ball so that's something we're looking to work against," Retallick said.