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Plenty of positives for Dagg

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Sportal.co.nz     25 Aug 2013     Getty Images

Especially comfortable under the high ball, Dagg also got up to contest kicks, both defensive and offensive, and when joining the backline he had all the quicksilver qualities of his first seasons in the game.

"We've got to take the positive out of it but we're happy with the points we got. Tom Taylor came in and did an awesome job so we're pretty happy with that," he said of the performance.

Dagg wasn't surprised by the increased kicking from Australia – they had telegraphed that during the week through the media.

Halfback Will Genia had kicked into the box while fullback Jesse Mogg had been putting high balls up.

"We trained it pretty hard this week and I thought the back three did pretty well to nullify the opportunities there by getting up high and taking those high balls," he said.

Dagg said the All Blacks were pleased to be capitalising on opportunities so efficiently in the two games to date.

"There were probably a few more opportunities out there that went begging. I threw a long ball to Richie [McCaw]. I've been playing too much league on Play Station and been throwing some long balls so I thought I was playing that but there's a few opportunities we let go begging but in this game we took a few and got the points on the table," he said.

While the All Blacks made their slick passing look easy it was the result of plenty of practice during the week.

Conrad Smith had shown his class yet again with quick hands while Steven Luatua had an 'awesome' game and ran some fine lines.

Dagg said with the Australians battling to field kicks the All Blacks launched, the thought had been if Australia were trying to put New Zealand under pressure why not do the same to them?

"Luckily enough we got opportunities off of it and we scored a try out of that so we were pretty happy with that."

Dagg also had a rare chance to kick some points, landing a penalty goal while Taylor was being attended for sore ribs. He said it was something he had been practising all week and when he was asked if he was happy to take the chance he said yes.

It was straight in front of the posts. Goal-kicking was something he liked to do but he was well down the usual pecking order.

His Crusaders team-mate Taylor had responded just as Dagg thought he would by settling into his role very quickly. He had kicked goals the side needed and while he admitted to dreaming about rugby all week he couldn't wait to get into the game and had responded accordingly.