Dagg set to wing it

Reports from New Zealand suggest Tom Marshall and not Israel Dagg will play fullback for the Crusaders.

Dagg made a striking impression playing fullback for the All Blacks at the World Cup in 2011 but is likely to start at wing in the Crusaders’ campaign, which opens with a match against the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

Marshall has started at fullback in all the pre-season matches and there are strong indications that coach Todd Blackadder will keep him there for the foreseeable future.

Dagg has trained mostly as a wing and said he was content to play there if asked. ‘Obviously I would prefer to play fullback but they are both similar roles on the outsides,’ he said.

‘You have got Cory Jane who is playing on the wing as well [with the Hurricanes] and both positions are similar. I don’t mind where I play as long as I can get out there and have a run around.’

The Crusaders will be without the talismanic duo of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter for the early stages of the tournament but are expected to have midfielders Robbie Fruean and Ryan Crotty available for the opening match. Hooker Corey Flynn required 20 stitches for a cut to his eye but should also be cleared to play.