News in Brief
New All Black Dagg keen on Crusaders
Israel Dagg was a stand-out in a mostly disappointing Highlanders campaign
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- Highlanders fullback Israel Dagg, a fresh face in the latest All Blacks squad, appears set to sign with the Crusaders for next year's Super 15.
"I'm certain I'm Crusaders-bound. I've told my agent and I've spoken to a few people," Dagg told Sportal. "I've talked to (Crusaders coach) Todd Blackadder a couple of times. I watched them this year. It's pretty special down there. Their culture and style of rugby is impressive."
Dagg's agent Simon Porter said no player could put pen to paper while the New Zealand Rugby Union complete its latest collective contract negotiations, but indicated a change is imminent.
"It's been pretty well signposted that the Crusaders are interested in him. He'll now sit down with the Highlanders before making a final decision," Porter told Radio Sport.
Dagg, who turns 22 on Sunday, has been in touch with good friend and Hawke's Bay teammate Zac Guildford, who wants Dagg to join him at the Crusaders: "We've been talking about it. He's keen to come to the Crusaders but he said that this time last year so I won't believe him until he puts pen on paper."
- Alex Crockett has signed a two-year deal with Worcester Warriors. The controversial centre, one of three players to leave Bath during last year's drugs scandal, joins from Championship side Bristol.
"I have known Alex for a long time have followed his career, from a very young age he showed great talent," head coach Richard Hill said. "He is a very talented intelligent rugby player which will be a great asset to the club." The Warriors have also confirmed the signing of promising tight-head Oliver Tomaszczyk.
- The Western Force have confirmed that coach John Mitchell has been given permission to work with the Golden Lions during their forthcoming Currie Cup campaign.
The former All Black coach will also spend time in Japan with club side Toshiba before returning to Perth to begin pre-season preparations with the Force.
"John expressed his desire to use his accrued annual leave entitlements to further his coaching expertise and we have allowed him to undertake the role at the Lions with the understanding it will not impact negatively on the Western Force preparations for 2011," Rugby WA CEO Vern Reid said.
"The Lions will give John an insight into another rugby program but he has always indicated that the Western Force is his number one priority and we are confident his impeccable standards in preparing our side will not be adversely affected."
- Wasps have confirmed the signing of Saracens wing Richard Haughton on a two-year deal. Haughton played 165 games for Sarries and holds international honours for England at Sevens and 'A' level.
- Prop Guy Shepherdson has swapped the Brumbies for the Queensland Reds. The 28-year-old, 17-cap player lost his spot in the Brumbies' front row to Salesi Ma'afu, who will earn his first Wallabies cap on Saturday against Fiji.
- Luke McAlister has been ruled out of North Harbour's match against Japan in Albany on Friday night because of a minor back injury. A horror run of injuries continues for the 30-test international, who wasn't named in the All Blacks squad last Sunday due to a lack of game time for the Blues in the Super 14 season.
He injured his back playing club rugby on Saturday, meaning he will miss a valuable chance for some match fitness ahead of the New Zealand Maori programme, which comprises matches against the New Zealand Barbarians, Ireland and England.
- Exeter have continued their recruitment drive for their first Guinness Premiership season with the signings of Bath fly-half Ryan Davis and London Welsh hooker Chris Whitehead. The duo follow ex-Bath winger Andrew Higgins in signing at Sandy Park.