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Dagg : Crusaders one point victory is 'huge'

Crusaders players Ryan Crotty, Kieron Fonotia and Israel Dagg celebrate

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Article Published: Sunday 9 March 2014|

Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg says that they know they are not playing well but they are happy with their one point victory over the Stormers in Christchurch.

The Crusaders scored a late try and penalty to wrestle the victory from the Stormers grasp for their first win of the Super Rugby season.

The Christchurch team dominated possession and territory in the first half but the Stormers defence kept them in the match and the scores were level at half time.

At the start of the second half the Stormers attack came to the fore and the visitors went out to a 10 point lead.

Despite their home advantage and being packed with All Blacks the Crusaders struggled to take control of the match and the Stormers looked set to win their first match in Christchurch.

Eventually the Crusaders got their much needed breakthrough when replacement back Kieron Fonotia crossed for their one and only try.

"It was ugly and we didn't play too well but we're happy," All Black Israel Dagg admitted to Fairfax NZ News.

"This is huge. Three losses, it would have been a sad Sunday."

"We're a long way off where we want to be. Teams would have seen that," Dagg said.

"We're too narrow. We're not attacking space. We're attacking into the heart of their defence so we need to work on that."

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said that he could sense an immediate weight lifted from his players' shoulders after they had won their first match.

Blackadder hopes that they will be able to relax more now and show some freedom in their attack.

The Crusaders coach praised his team's temperament and guts but admitted that there is plenty of work to be done.

"At the moment it looks like we're thinking too much rather than having a go," he said.

"It's good to get some numbers on the board. This competition is incredibly tough."

Tasman rookie and tryscorer Kieron Fonotia agreed that the victory relieves pressure on the team.

"It's massive relief," Fonotia said.

"It was a bit touch and go there for a while but you could feel the momentum shift."

After Fonotia scored the Crusasders try Tom Taylor missed the conversion that would have levelled the scores but soon nailed a match-winning penalty and also put in a try saving tackle on Nizaam Carr.

"The one before that I missed I was disappointed but I hit it straight down the middle and it turned out well," Taylor said of the match winning penalty.

"You could tell out there we really wanted it. At times things didn't go our way."

"We've lacked a bit of passion and we showed that tonight, mainly through our defence."

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