Israel Dagg urges players to consider personal development after own fights

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All Black retiree Israel Dagg urged fellow rugby players to make the most of their personal development earlier in their careers after opening up about his own issues and concerns from his playing days.

The former Crusaders and All Blacks away announced his retirement from all rugby in April, at the age of 30, due to a knee injury that had plagued him for more than two years.

Dagg, who turned 31 this week, made 66 tests for the All Blacks from 2010-17 and made over 100 Super Rugby appearances with the Highlanders (2009-10) and Crusaders (2011-19).

Israel Dagg took on a mentoring role with the Crusaders.

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Israel Dagg took on a mentoring role with the Crusaders.

He was a notable omission from the national team for the 2015 World Cup, which the All Blacks won in England, and has been open about the disappointment, describing it as their “darkest moment”, but he is went further by revealing his battles with the mind. health and injury in a touching letter written for the New Zealand Rugby Players Association.

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“I sat in my son’s room, ate a whole bunch of chocolate brownies and played PlayStation for two whole days, but now I’m looking back and laughing,” Dagg said.

“Now that I have kids I have a better outlook and I know there are a lot of people in a worse situation than me. Things have happened in my career and you think I am. finished, but the sun is still rising and you are still breathing. “

Dagg rebounded from missing the World Cup, which he won with the All Blacks in New Zealand in 2011, and was again selected by coach Steve Hansen in the 2016 and 2017 seasons after impressing in Super Rugby with the Crusaders, the champions in the last two years.

He said he first injured his troublesome knee in the 2017 preseason when he stood on a pothole on the pitch, having hypertensive him before he suffered a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury and a meniscus tear, meaning “it was a downward spiral from there”.

Israel Dagg scored a try in his last All Blacks test against Argentina in 2017.

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Israel Dagg scored a try in his last All Blacks test against Argentina in 2017.

Dagg returned to play nationally and internationally, including for the 2017 Lions series, the All Blacks drew 1-1, but his final test would come against Argentina in New Plymouth in September of that year.

Product Hawke’s Bay, who has taken on a mentoring role with the Crusaders since his retirement, has encouraged young players to enjoy their careers the best they can while exploring other options available to them for life. after rugby.

“The first thing is to put yourself in as much as possible. Don’t be shy, especially in training. The second is to make sure you prepare for the end of your playing days, because the sooner you start to prepare, the easier it is to manage when it does.I was lucky mine didn’t come until I was 30, but you don’t know when it will.

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“As cliché as it sounds, put your money aside, be smart, buy a home, explore investments with knowledgeable experts and surround yourself with the right people. You have those times of stress and uncertainty, but get over it. the, trust your planning for life after rugby and eventually it will work out. “

Dagg played briefly in Japan in 2018 for the Canon Eagles, but his knee injury caught up with him then.

“I played a few games [in Japan] and in my last game I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even kick the ball. My knee was unbearable. I was in a deep black hole after that game, ”he said.

Israel Dagg in action for the Crusaders against the Chiefs last year.

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Israel Dagg in action for the Crusaders against the Chiefs last year.

“I had a meeting with my club to keep them up to date and then I went back to New Zealand to seek medical advice. Deep in my head I was thinking ‘I can’t keep doing this’.

“Knowing what I had been able to do in previous years and knowing that I couldn’t go back to it made me conclude that it was time to start thinking about retirement.”

Dagg said he struggled over the past summer as he considered retiring, but now also works as an expert for Sports Sky.

Israel Dagg's knee injury forced him to retire.

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Israel Dagg’s knee injury forced him to retire.

“My wife, Daisy was a rock. I was a big lazy and sad sack, and as we know when you have mental difficulties you have to exercise and connect, but it was a battle. But we got over it and I think she’s starting to love me again! “

He continued, “If there was one thing I could change, it would be to make the most of personal development as soon as I entered the environment. My attitude towards personal development when I started was, “I don’t need this. , what a waste of time, there are much better things I can do with my time like lunch and shopping. “

“Even though I started playing in 2006, it wasn’t until 2012 that I took personal development seriously. I had a good support network with a good agent, lawyer and accountant, but I met a businessman who became my mentor and inspired me to expand further.

Israel Dagg also worked as an expert for Sky.

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Israel Dagg also worked as an expert for Sky.

“I thought that by having just a house – which I bought in 2010 – I was done, but he pointed me in the right direction and gave me tools to settle in. Since then, we have been became good friends.

“It’s great to have mentors and advisors outside of the rugby circle. That’s why I try to tell the guys to make the most of it because when it’s over, it’s over. You have a great opportunity to learn tools and meet great people, so make the most of it. “


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