All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg has bamboozled many defenders with his clever footwork, his subtle changes of pace and angle, but he had a substantial international media contingent entirely mystified yesterday when he was asked to explain the unusual try-scoring celebrations he has performed at the Rugby World Cup.
Dagg scored two tries in New Zealand’s 37-17 win over France on Saturday and the unusual manner in which he marked both touchdowns — a cryptic collection of hand and arm gestures — baffled many fans.
Asked to explain the meaning of the celebration at a press conference on Monday, Dagg left reporters more baffled than before.
In New Zealand slang, a “dag” is a humorous person and Dagg lived up to the name with an explanation which would have stumped the most acerbic sleuth or cryptologist.
“To be honest, I can’t really talk about it,” Dagg said at first, though he was clearly itching to do so.
“I won’t be sharing any information about it, but I can give you a few clues about it. The first clue is the dog meows — and that’s a clue about it. That’s one I’ll leave you with,” he said.
Asked if it might be seen again or if it might evolve into something new and even more bewildering, Dagg was equally cryptic.
“It will stay the same,” he said. “You might see it come out at some other stage of the tournament or someone random might pull it out. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Pressed for another clue, he said: “I’ll give you another clue. The laughing bear drives a motorcycle. That’s my last clue for today.”
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter was as bewildered as reporters as he sat next to Dagg.
Asked if he knew what Dagg was talking about, Carter replied: “I think he’s got this little private gang or thing I’m not associated with. It makes no sense with me.”
PALU SENT HOME
REUTERS, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Australia No. 8 Wycliff Palu was sent home from the Rugby World Cup yesterday because of a hamstring strain, but the injury-ravaged Wallabies said they would not name a replacement immediately.
Injury-prone Palu made his first start for Australia in almost two years against the US on Friday in Wellington, only to hobble from the field with a strain which could take up to six weeks to heal.
Australia said they might not replace Palu until after their final Pool C match against Russia on Saturday.
“It’s bad luck for Wycliff,” Australia coach Robbie Deans said in a statement. “Unfortunately, his previous history of injury in this area has impacted in terms of lengthening the time lines that are required for his rehabilitation.”