All Blacks expecting 'Reds playbook'

Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:09
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New Zealand expects the Reds' playbook to come out in full view in the opening Rugby Championship Test against Australia on Saturday.

New Zealand expects the Reds' playbook to come out in full view in the opening Rugby Championship Test against Australia on Saturday.

All Black fullback Israel Dagg said he was expecting a cluster of Reds players in the Wallaby squad - especially the likes of Quade Cooper and Will Genia - to be key role players in Sydney, in a game that also doubles up as a Bledisloe Cup encounter.

New Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie has already expressed a desire to introduce a more "expansive" game than employed under predecessor Robbie Deans.

Dagg is sure they will use a similar playbook to the Reds, who developed a highly-effective free-running style under McKenzie in which mercurial flyhalf Cooper and equally influential scrumhalf Genia pull the strings.

"The Reds like to use the ball, spread it wide, with quality passes," Dagg told a media briefing on Monday.

"They like to run it from everywhere. It's going to be a pretty quick game."

Twenty-eight Test veteran Dagg doesn't believe the All Blacks will be caught out by a rapid-fire Wallabies game plan, mainly because of Super Rugby familiarity with their players.

However, he says no amount of homework can prepare a team for countering the likes of Rugby League convert Israel Folau, who shone with his attacking gifts in his debut series against the British and Irish Lions.

Dagg has lined up against his namesake and former Rugby League star just once, when the Crusaders faced Folau's Waratahs in Christchurch in May.

It became apparent in that match what a threat the 24-year-old can be.

"Just try to cut down the space," Dagg said, when asked how to stop the threat.

"He's obviously pretty good with ball in hand and can create a bit of havoc.

"However, there are players all across the field for them who are pretty sharp, so we can't focus on one person."

Source: NZ Newswire

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