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Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# ranfurly shield
The ITM Cup has been busy: Dagg's dislocated shoulder, MacKenzie magic and a Canterbury comeback
Steve Hansen can forget about calling the fullback up as emergency cover.

REGULAR SUPER RUGBY watchers will already be familiar with the precocious talents Damian MacKenzie after he featured at fullback and out-half for the Chiefs earlier this year.

But here’s some more of him.

Nz RugbyVidz / YouTube

If you don’t have time for the full highlights of yesterday’s Waikato v Canterbury match above, skip to the two minute mark for the first of MacKenzie’s excellent offerings as the blonde kid dare to run from his own 22 and steps the first tackler before offloading and setting a brilliant coast-to-coast try into motion.

Then, at around the 8.30 mark, he extends the north islanders’ advantage, taking possession on slow ball, but wasting no time in identifying prop Siate Tokolahi as a mismatch in the defensive line and he duly dances around him.

As tends to happen at all levels of the game, Canterbury battled their way back in to contention and, despite a late MacKenzie drop-goal, the south islanders carved out a narrow 18 – 17 win.

This morning All Black fullback Israel Dagg had his season ended, but was at least able to celebrate Hawke’s Bay’s latest retention of the Ranfurly Shield.

The Tight Five / YouTube

The Magpies defeated an Auckland side containing the likes of Akira Ioane, Charles Piutau and George Moala 17 – 12 in a sopping wet McLean Park in Napier.

As you can see from the above highlights, it wasn’t a night for free-flowing back-play and Dagg’s chief involvements were hard close-in carries. The 27-year-old suffered a dislocated shoulder nine minutes from time and watched the late siege with his arm in a sling on the sidelines.

With the end of the regular ITM Cup season just over two weeks away, the injury means a premature end to Dagg’s 2015 campaign. If injury were to befall one of Steve Hansen’s outside backs, the All Black coach would likely turn to Canterbury’s Ryan Crotty (of Aviva Stadium heartbreak fame) or Auckland’s Piutau.

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