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Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

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George Carlin
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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:47 am

With his heroics in the RC this year and claiming a world cup last year, has Israel Dagg overtaken Christian Cullen as the greatest All Black full back of all time? and by virtue of their place in world rugby, the greatest Full Back?

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Post by red_stag Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:50 am

Ah AWOP you crack me up.

Dagg has literally just about got his place in the team. Up until very recently he was firmly behind Muliania.

He is nowhere near Cullens amazing record for both his Super Rugby franchise or the All Blacks.

Cant really see there is anything to discuss here.
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Post by Bathite Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:53 am

Cullen's one of the greatest players of all time. In terms of Kiwi FBs, Dagg has got a long way to go to get to the level of Mils Muliaina (100 odd caps) and then another step up to get to Cullen.

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Post by chewed_mintie Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:54 am

Kind of agree with Red Stag, Cullen is in my opinion (and having been able to see Blanco play too) the greatest of them all. TP McLean (famous NZ rugby writer) lived long enough to be able to say that having seen George Nepia play, he ranks above Cullen on any best of list.

BU tI don’t think he’s only just nailed his spot with NZ, Dagg had clearly taken over Mils long before the WC

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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:57 am

Yeah, but look at his contribution so far. In my opinion he's more of a game breaker than Cullen was, and to be honest for all of Mils Muliaina's amazing legacy, Dagg pushed him out via his compelling form and talent when it mattered most and then delivered!

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Post by rodders Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:57 am

Muliania(sp?) v Cullen would be a more interesting debate imo.

Dagg is some player but I don't think he has anywhere near matched Cullen's sheer brilliance or Mulianas longevity.. yet.

And if I might be so bold I'm not convinced he's better than Rob Kearney..... Smile ..... Run
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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:01 am

Since when did longevity become a pertinent skill? Is that not more a function of the depth and development of new options? Is Nathan Sharpe really a "great" lock? or are there just no other options in Australia? for example.

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Post by Guest Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:08 am

Rob Kearney, who's that Rodders? Whistle

Nah Dagg is nowhere near Cullen. Although he's more Cullen-like than Mils, and has a good boot to. Reckon Dagg has been one of the stand out ABs so far in the 4N, probably all those 'kick' returns.

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Post by rodders Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:09 am

Yes and No. The ability to sustain a high level over the course of a long career, to sustain motivation and fitness, to continually reinvent oneself and to see of the challenge of positional rivals is something to be admired.

One blot against Cullen is that once his pace declined he wasn't able to perform anywhere near to the same level in the latter stages of career. By contrast someone like Doug Howlett is still a fantastic player despite not having the pace he had in his prime. He's still better than most international wingers.

On that basis I think there is an argument that Muliana ranks above Cullen.

That said Cullen for me was the best.
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Post by rodders Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:10 am

ebop wrote:Rob Kearney, who's that Rodders? Whistle

raspberry Smile guinness
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Post by disneychilly Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:21 am

I don't think Cullen was the most complete fullback even among his contemporaries-I'd say Chris Latham was more rounded. However Cullen would be my hands down choice for an all-time 15. Best runner with the ball I have ever seen. Formed the best back three of all time with Wilson and Lomu.

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Post by Guest Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:22 am

rodders wrote:
ebop wrote:Rob Kearney, who's that Rodders? Whistle

raspberry Smile guinness
Sorry fella, I've heard Kearney is a really good player Very Happy

Agree with what you said about Mils and longevity, it does matter when assessing a players legacy and Mils rarely let anyone down.

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Post by Taylorman Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:09 am

The comparison is inevitable. We're just blessed to have had three brilliant fullbacks since the mid 90s keeping the back warm. Dagg has had many highlights already in his short career and is fast encroaching on the other two. With his 4N form is the best currently.

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Post by boomeranga Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:21 am

Is it true that Cullen was a turnstile?

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Post by rodders Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:36 am

I didn't think so, certainly his cover defence was to a high standard. I recall a fantastic cover tackle on Tim Horan from behind in the super 12 circa 97ish.

Was he a good kicker? I'm not sure because he rarely needed to!
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Post by disneychilly Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:42 am

No Boomeranga Cullen's tackling technique was superb. Round the legs just like you were taught as a kid.

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Post by yappysnap Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Has Dagg not been very up and down form wise over the last two seasons? Especially for Crusaders?

Yes he's a talent and he finishes some wonderful moves from the AB's but then so would most reasonably quick players with a fairly good degree of footwork.

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Post by chewed_mintie Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:06 pm

disneychilly wrote:No Boomeranga Cullen's tackling technique was superb. Round the legs just like you were taught as a kid.

Apart from a gawdawful miss on Chester Williams in that dire 2000 test in Sth Africa – that missed tackle stands out more than other misses he’s likely to have made.

Awful, awful game that. We were down by about 20 pts before ht but clawed back before finally conspiring to lose 46-40. Only the second time anyone has passed 40 against us in a test and most ever test points conceded. Pts on offer to anyone who can name the other two occurrences of a +40 score! Clue: Taine Randall was captain for all three

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Post by emack2 Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:22 pm

New Zealand have had many great Full Backs starting with A,C.Wallace who did every thing Cullen did and more.Nepia was one of the greatest of the conventional type,Bob Scott was legend and one of the first attacking Full Backs with Herb cooke for the Kiwi`s.Don Clarke the best goal kicker but also a very good all rounder.Fergie Mc Cormack a great counter attacker and was made into a great Goal kicker by Fred the needle.Cullen was in one of the best back 3`s of all time which helped .Dagg has hardly played so a bit early with the superlatives,but for injury some would have started Andre Taylor in his stead.Indeed it is difficult to think of a poor All Black full back.There were alot of unlucky ones Jack Kelly,Pat Walsh,K.C Stuart in the Scott Era.Williment,Cormack,and of course Fergie during the D.B Clarke era.walsh overlapped and Mac Herewini could have done a job.

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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:46 pm

yappysnap wrote:Has Dagg not been very up and down form wise over the last two seasons? Especially for Crusaders?

Yes he's a talent and he finishes some wonderful moves from the AB's but then so would most reasonably quick players with a fairly good degree of footwork.

"fairly good" and "reasonably quick". Wow, talk about damn with faint praise! In my mind he is the best game breaker in the world at the moment. He continually conjures up some magic from seemingly nowhere. Think about the try that put Australia away in the RWC semi - the break and pass from almost in touch were sublime, the from-no-where try against South Africa where he slipped past four of the world's best defenders a couple of years abck, the game breaking try against Australia, the game breaking try against Argentina, the game breaking try against South Africa - it's incredible that one, he starts the move, handles again, makes a break the third time, backs up and then finishes the move off - four touches and he pops up to make two separate line breaks then takes an unbelievable offload to score. It's simply even better than it looked.

His brilliance is almost metronomic. Superb and peerless stuff at the moment...

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:58 pm

I think he's scored in every test this 4N. He's been our attacking weapon with not much else to write home about. He's also a rock under the high ball though he's certainly had enough practice.

Dagg is more subtle in his body shifts. He doesn't have the out and out step that Cullen possessed off both feet but he does have better acceleration and knows how to twist his way out of a tackle. Cullen had more pace and would just win with out and out pace and prevent defences from touching him with his stepping. Dagg gets closer into the action and swerves his way through tackles and goose steps more than severe sidestep.

Both are beautiful runners of the ball but for different reasons. I made my students watch Christian Cullen's youtube best tries (it required two videos). They knew nothing about rugby but could appreciate the beauty of his tries with his power and pace and angled running. Dagg is more subtle. Great handling, good back up play and an uncanny ability to find space where there appears none. Gear or Savea would do well to take a 101 course from him in that area.

If you were trying to impress a girl, you'd try to emulate Cullen. If you were trying to impress a purist maybe you'd go for Dagg. Either way, the end result is the same: a score... to the fullbacks.

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Post by HERSH Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:01 pm

Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Thats like comparing Donald v Carter. Laugh

Ask the same question in 5-8 years time. thumbsup
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:11 pm

I don't think because Carter hasn't kicked the World Cup final's winning points that he should be judged too harshly HERSH. He's not as legendary as Beaver but we're lucky to still have his services. Whistle

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Post by disneychilly Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:50 pm

chewed_mintie wrote:
disneychilly wrote:No Boomeranga Cullen's tackling technique was superb. Round the legs just like you were taught as a kid.

Apart from a gawdawful miss on Chester Williams in that dire 2000 test in Sth Africa – that missed tackle stands out more than other misses he’s likely to have made.

Awful, awful game that. We were down by about 20 pts before ht but clawed back before finally conspiring to lose 46-40. Only the second time anyone has passed 40 against us in a test and most ever test points conceded. Pts on offer to anyone who can name the other two occurrences of a +40 score! Clue: Taine Randall was captain for all three

I remember the 40-26 loss. I recall saying that I've only seen NZ absolutely smashed once in a test-the 28-7 drubbing in 99. That and Obolensky's test would be it. Some smug Bok fan said SA 40-NZ 26 in 2000. (you do the math he said). The eejit forgot we were leading with 10 to go.

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Post by Biltong Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:52 pm

Cullen for me was most likely one of the best attacking full backs in world rugby, the best?

I think it is subjective to suggest any fullback has been the best ever.
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:56 pm

mintie, France put 40 on us in the 99 world cup semi. Australia the other one? Too depressing to find out. That 99 loss was one of the few times we've lost leading at half time as well. Dark days with Taine Randell as captain. Unfortunately they got darker with Captain Invisible and Cold Toddy. les années noires.

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Post by disneychilly Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:00 pm

Na Kia those were the three. Two by SA and one by France. That pack was too soft and when France started their shenanigans it should have been sorted out. That way the comeback could have been nipped in the bud. Oh and not playing three of the world's most dangerous ever back 4 out of position.

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Post by chewed_mintie Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:02 pm

Yep France in 99 41-29
France in 2000 42-33
SA in 2000 46-40
Lastly, which I forgot, SA 40-26 in 2004. NZ had Merhts starting for the last time and De Wet Barry (remember him anyone?) got a hattrick! So 4 in total we've conceded 40+

That first France loss in the SF was a smashing if ever there was. Randell and the boys didn’t know what him them.

I must say thinking about All Black rugby from 99-02 bar the match they played in heaven, leaves me feeling rather cold

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:14 pm

We really had a rubbish pack during those years and our lineout and scrum were dog s**t. There's no such thing as a weak AB side they always say in NZ but that was pretty damn close during a lot of that.

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Post by Taylorman Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:32 pm

HERSH wrote:Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Thats like comparing Donald v Carter. Laugh

Ask the same question in 5-8 years time. thumbsup

Again you get the NHers thinking they know a bit about top class rugby. They always pump for the player that plays well in the north scene...oooh isnt he a good player they will say now that hes here... I agree he was better, but he's had a career of it. Dagg's only 23 and at that age I doubt there's been better. In this 4N particularly, where no one can find room he's found the holes...again and again. Mark of class. Give an inch take a mile stuff.

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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:33 pm

Dagg is hugely overrated and a few jinks will not convince me otherwise, he is playing against massively hit Aus and SA sides and a 60 minute Argy pack.

He has constantly been kicked ball with no pressure at all with fractured chasers and doesn't actually do as much as I'd expect of an attacking FB.

You cannot compare Dagg to Cullen as Dagg is not the best FB around at present, let alone better than one of the greatest players to ever don the 15 shirt!

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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:45 pm

Blues man! Where have you been? Dagg was instrumental in diffusing the aerial assault of the full strength springbok world cup winning machine. Taking nz from frustrated also-rans to instigate a legacy culminating in over turning the 24 years of rwc failure! Some feat!

Has any fullback ever been so solely responsible for a change in the style of what constitute winning rugby? I don't see what is so overrated about that!

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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:00 pm

Which ariel assault are you talking about? The pin point kicking of Morne Steyn? or the impressive showing from the Saffas at the WC in general?

SA were a shadow of their former selves at last years WC!!!

If you want a match winning FB compare Daggs match winning points tally to the likes of Fodens, Kearneys, Beales, or 1/2p's over the last 2 seasons!

Dagg is a decent international counter attacking FB, but he's no Mils, let alone Cullen... and if your skewed one kiwi eye can't see that!!!

(Don't tell me, your not really a kiwi... ghost )

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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:07 pm

Look back a couple of years blues man! Look at the springbok whitewash of nz, and how dagg turned that around with his astonishing aerial skills and lightening scything running return! This turned it around to a black wash of the entire tournament, NH grandslams and ultimate success at the world cup! How many full backs can say that?! And still be considered "young" and "inexperienced" and with so much still to offer? Here is a global megastar who's legacy will be remembered more fondly than a JPR or a Mark Ella or a Jonah Lomu...

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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:14 pm

Think back to 2008, how many new number 8's can boast turning games on their head, leading to a GS and subsequent win over Australia, and be considered legally retarded?! surely Andy Powells legacy will be remembered more fondly than Kaino, Read or Mccaw?

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Post by anotherworldofpain Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:31 pm

Oh blues man get off it, this is like the time you said Kieran read was "average"... Then came back with glowing purple prose in an article when you actually paid attention!

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Post by Casartelli Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Cullen has the better youtube montages, which is all the evidence anyone could ever need.

This one was posted by someone called 'ihavenopantson'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0945lQKP7I

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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 pm

AWOP leave off mun, your just making yourself look silly now...

PS Read is a good player but nothing special.

What you don't seem to get is that in the NZ team there are a lot of world class players, and a number of not so good players who look much better than they actually are because of the ride they get.

You are too one eyed a kiwi mate.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:44 pm

Dagg is a very good player. Not great yet, though his form is very good and he could be an alltime great if he keeps it up. From what I've heard, Cullen is up there alongside Blanco and JPR on the best of lists ( I say from what I've heard- I specifically did a survey on this site and you all said that). It's almost impossible for a player as long as Dagg to feature because longevity in terms of consistent brilliance over many years is definitely one of the most important aspects of greatness. Otherwise, Roccocko is a great and George North can already be called a great. The only current/very recently retired players who I'd consider for greatness (not saying I think they are, but I see where people are coming from) are:

Wilkinson, Carter, the recently retired S Williams, McCaw, Thorn, Matfield and Bakkies, BOD, Mortlock.

Dusautoir, J Smith, Burger and C Smith might be close
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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:45 pm

anotherworldofpain wrote:Oh blues man get off it, this is like the time you said Kieran read was "average"... Then came back with glowing purple prose in an article when you actually paid attention!

Thought that was Morg
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Post by Taylorman Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:46 pm

How many of those were cullen 23 and earlier...? Just because Dagg hasnt sat comfortably in an NH club, sweeping the NHers off his feet the way Cullen did in retirement, doesnt make him inferior, especially at his age.

One aspect Cullen didnt have to deal with is the extremely tight defences of today. Cullen was allowed much more freedom to roam- Dagg creates tries out of less than half a spit. Shocked

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:47 pm

Taylorman wrote:How many of those were cullen 23 and earlier...? Just because Dagg hasnt sat comfortably in an NH club, sweeping the NHers off his feet the way Cullen did in retirement, doesnt make him inferior, especially at his age.

One aspect Cullen didnt have to deal with is the extremely tight defences of today. Cullen was allowed much more freedom to roam- Dagg creates tries out of less than half a spit. Shocked

Was that to me?
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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:56 pm

Taylorman

The point is Dagg is in a bit of form, it hasn't lasted long and it may not last much longer, from his performances at this years RC they are against severely weakened teams in Aus and SA, who IMO are both playing different gameplans because of their depleted squads.

Dagg is a good player in a purple patch of form, let's see how he goes next season against a much stronger RC tournament before we scribble out some of the best FB's of all time for him.

IMO Daggs performances are similar to Norths entrance to the scene, Ashtons purple patch, Coopers wonder season, or Hensons JWPOTY/6N season.

In 5 seasons if he's still playing well I'll consider him as credible competition for Mils.

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Post by Taylorman Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:04 pm

When has Dagg not been in form? he also starred at the world cup, scoring 5 tries.

This comment of yours:

"as Dagg is not the best FB around at present"

Is simply untrue. At present, hes the only fullback opening up both the Ozzie and SA defences. Name another to do that in the last 12 months?

Who then, based on the last 12 months, is better? and why would that be?

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Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:14 pm

IMO Dagg is the best, or even best, 15 in the world and has been for 12 months. But to rank alongside Cullen he has to last as long at the top. At the moment it's not that he isn't as good as Cullen but the two's careers in full are incomparable. You can compare Cullen's early career with Dagg's but that's not the same at all
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Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:25 pm

Shall we start with points scored versus Aus and SA on average per game?

I can think of at least one FB who has scored more!

IMO Kearney and Beale are probably the best on the planet, with regards to their all round game, followed by a group consisting of Dagg, 1/2p and Foden.

Dagg gets huge plaudits, but in reality you could replace him with the likes of Foden, Brown, Williams and a number of FB's who don't get the ride the likes of he and Jane do.

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Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen Empty Re: Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Post by Otagolad Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:29 pm

For me so far it is Cullen, although I believe Dagg is far more naturally gifted and, barring injury, will go down as the AB's best ever fullback if he plays another 5 or 6 years.

Cullen though was phenomenal and his debut season in 1996 summed it up for me with his amazing try at the Hong Kong Sevens where he scored after starting in his own in-goal. I was then lucky enough to be at Carisbrook to watch him score 4 tries against Scotland including one where he appeared to beat every Scotsman at least twice Very Happy . This was all at the age of 20.

Bluesman - Dagg has played a few games for the AB's before the RWC and was pretty sensational, especially against SA in 2010 when he scored two brilliant tries - one in Wellington and the other to steal it in Jo'burg. There were many of us who could see the writing on the wall for Mils (awesome player though) as soon as Dagg emerged. He has been a standout for the AB's this year and as I said if he keeps going like this he'll go down as one of the greats of World rugby.

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Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen Empty Re: Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Post by ChequeredJersey Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:33 pm

Taylorman wrote:How many of those were cullen 23 and earlier...? Just because Dagg hasnt sat comfortably in an NH club, sweeping the NHers off his feet the way Cullen did in retirement, doesnt make him inferior, especially at his age.

One aspect Cullen didnt have to deal with is the extremely tight defences of today. Cullen was allowed much more freedom to roam- Dagg creates tries out of less than half a spit. Shocked

On my list, arguments can be made for all the backs. ESP Carter, who must if been Dagg's age in 2005 when he killed the Lions.
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Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen Empty Re: Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Post by thebluesmancometh Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:35 pm

And If North keeps playing like he has for the last 2 seasons he'll be one of the best wingers ever to play the game.

IMO he cannot be compared to the best ever wingers because he is gifted and is in good form.

Fact is right now Dagg is one of the better fullbacks in the world, and little more.

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Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen Empty Re: Israel Dagg v Christian Cullen

Post by Otagolad Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:46 pm

thebluesmancometh wrote:IMO Kearney and Beale are probably the best on the planet, with regards to their all round game, followed by a group consisting of Dagg, 1/2p and Foden.

Seriously??? Beale reminds me of Andrew Walker - a car crash waiting to happen - he was brilliant last year but is now looking so shaky its not funny and as for Kearney my sides are hurting so much from laughing. Kearney is dependable etc. but not even in the same class as Dagg.

Also, Dagg is having to play regularly against the no. 2 and 3 teams in the world and as such he is having to continuously try and break down the best defensive lines and guess what .... he does. Kearney wouldn't get close to creating the scoring opportunities for himself or his team mates if he had to play SA and Aus week in and week out.

It is going to be so much fun listening to another year of British Isles fans excuses as to why their teams couldn't beat an AB's team who had just finished a gruelling competition against the no. 2 and 3 teams in the world and were at the end of their season. How many Autumn series will it be since the AB's suffered a loss to a BI team up north - oh that's right it will be 8 years. I use to think Grand Slams were something to be looked at in awe but the AB's do it without even thinking these days. Once you can front up and beat the AB's then you can talk about one of your average players being better than ours furious Run

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