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Israel Dagg suggests former All Black 'on the outer' at Crusaders

By Ned Lester
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tough calls will have to be made by Crusaders selectors for the team to continue to turn their season around, and former All Black Israel Dagg has suggested the first of those dominoes may have already fallen.


50-cap All Blacks prop Joe Moody was absent from the team sheet against the Chiefs after a 25-minute showing in the week prior’s loss to the Blues where he managed three tackles and one carry while holding the scrum in good stead. The veteran was penalised twice in that brief stint.

In the 35-year-old’s place for the round six win was 24-year-old Kershawl Sykes-Martin. The youngster contributed four tackles and two carries in his 17 minutes off the bench while avoiding any attention from the referee.

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Moody’s stature in New Zealand rugby is undeniable, but after an injury-riddled period where he missed the end of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season with an ankle injury and subsequently missed selection for the Rugby World Cup, his club may have deemed it time for the next generation of front row talent to make their mark.

“He’s still available, he played last week,” Dagg told SENZ Breakfast when reacting to Moody’s non-selection. “I haven’t heard, but I reckon he’s on the outer.

“I think he’s not in favour. You look at the bench, Owen Franks is back after serving his suspension and you got (Kershawl) Sykes-Martin coming off the bench; he was very good in last year’s final against the Chiefs. He came on and put in a few big hits.

“In the starting unit, Fletcher Newell and George Bower, an All Blacks front row alongside George Bell.


“I just think, Joe Moody, he’s had his injuries in the past but a very good player and a very good scrummager, is on the outer.

“I think he is 100 per cent on the outer in that group and they are searching. It’s desperate times to leave a player with so much experience, not even in the 23.”


Last year, following his return from the ankle injury that saw him miss the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific playoffs last year, Moody revealed details of his call with Ian Foster in which the former All Blacks coach broke the news of his World Cup squad omission.

“It was a somewhat, not a heated conversation, but I did sort of… I didn’t try to change Fozzie’s mind or anything, but I did kind of argue my case when they said I wasn’t going to be ready for the opening rounds of the World Cup,” Moody said.


“I thought the two weeks of NPC, the game in London, I would have been in a pretty good state. But, apparently, that wasn’t the way they saw it.”


Penalties Conceded
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Red Cards

Fast forward to this season, Moody was also absent from the team sheet in rounds three and four after being named in the No. 17 jersey in the opening two rounds for the Crusaders.

Should his absences continue, Crusaders fans may expect to farewell a club centurion at the season’s end, as Moody’s contract ends this year.

Moody wouldn’t be the only Crusader to be considering an exit in 2024, with RugbyPass reporting Sevu Reece and Fergus Burke are also considering options from European heavyweight clubs while Codie Taylor was recently spotted in Japan, reportedly having talks with Richie Mo’unga’s Tokyo Brave Lupus.


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Red and White Dynamight 111 days ago

Good player, Moody. Very good. Also a penalty magnet.

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