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Dagg: Defence killed French hopes

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Sportal.co.nz     17 Jun 2013     Getty Images

The French liked to throw the ball around and play but the All Blacks had tackled their hearts out and they were 'pretty wrecked' and to get a try like the second of the game, scored by wing Ben Smith after a long period of intense defensive pressure, had knocked the visitors.

Another factor in the game had been the impressive control and direction given the side by first five-eighths Aaron Cruden.

In the first Test there had been more pressure on Cruden so Dagg said the likes of himself and halfback Aaron Smith had been able to relieve some of that pressure from Cruden in Christchurch.

And second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu had been able to put grubber kicks through, most notably when wing Julian Savea scored in the third minute.

"He's [Nonu] not a noted kicker but when he does, he can do it. He practices hard at training, it doesn't look very good but it's effective.
"He led us around the track, put the boys in the right places, attacked the line well and kicked very well so very please," he said.

Dagg felt he was building back into his best form nicely, his preparation had been 'awesome' and was staying positive.

"Things haven't probably been going as planned this year but I've just got to stay positive and that's what I'm doing with a smile on my face," he said.

Dagg said the win had been a great effort by the side.

"To hold them scoreless which hadn't been done in 53 Tests is pretty pleasing and the boys are very proud."

Dagg said the reason the side had been able to lift their game so much was down to a better mental effort more than anything else.

"Last week we tried to push too hard. We just had to build patience this week, build pressure, and I think we did that with our kicking game," he said.