Dagg: Crusaders believe they can go all the way

Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg hopes that his team’s Semi-final clash won’t be all about penalty kicks and an arm-wrestle between the forwards.

Many have predicted that the Crusaders vs Sharks clash might come down to penalty kicks and an armwrestle between two forward packs.

The Sharks rely heavily on penalties going their way with Frans Steyn and Patrick Lambie both ready to either kick for posts or set up line outs for the forwards to set up a maul.

The Crusaders have Dan Carter and Colin Slade in their backline ready to repond in kind and in the Crusaders favour they have conceded fewer penalties than any other team this year at an average of 9.5 per match.

The Sharks have averaged the most turnovers conceded per game (16.5) and the Crusaders have started both Richie McCaw and Matt Todd while Kieran Read is at No.8 so Dagg can expect to get plenty of ball.

Last week the Highlanders showed that the Sharks can be vulnerable when teams counter attack with ball in hand rather than through the boot.

“There are going to be opportunities out there for us,” fullback Israel Dagg told Sportal.

“Hopefully the boys up front can lay a platform like they have all year and the backs out wide can execute what we want to do out there.”

For the first time since the new format was adopted the Crusaders earned a home semi-final and an extra week off and they are hoping that this will help them end their trophy drought.

In 2011 the Crusaders lost in the Super Rugby final to the Reds in Brisbane and in 2012 and 2013 they have been knocked out by the Chiefs in the semi-finals – both in Hamilton.

“For the last couple of years we haven’t been able to get past this hurdle,” Dagg said.

“But we’ve just got a great group of guys that have got that belief that we can go all the way (this year) and we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity to do it as well.”

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