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ESPN SCRUM / New Zealand / News
New Zealand
Dagg: 'Mike Brown is world class right now'
ESPN Staff
March 16, 2014
Israel Dagg was key to New Zealand's unbeaten 2013 Rugby Championship © Getty Images

All Black Israel Dagg is relishing the thought of a head-to-head battle against England's Mike Brown this summer, telling the Rugby Paper that his England counterpart is "world class right now".

Stuart Lancaster takes his squad to New Zealand for a three-Test tour in June as they look to build on from England's runner-up finish to Ireland in this year's Six Nations.

Dagg, one of the most respected fullbacks in the game, is fully aware of the improving Brown.

"Mike Brown is a guy right at the top of his game right now. He's a genuine class act and is only getting better. The guy is flying in the Six Nations - he's got a top kicking game, runs hard and direct and is as safe as anyone in the tackle and under the high ball. You wouldn't want much more in a fullback than that - he's world class right now so I'm very much looking forward to going head to head with him in June."

Although England were unsuccessful in their bid for the Six Nations, Dagg observes the team as a threat, making note of the areas in which Lancaster's squad is improving most.

"You look through their whole side and you can see they're improving all the time. They've had an outstanding Six Nations, are building momentum, young guys are gaining experience and you sense that, 18 months out from a World Cup in their own back yard, they are in a very good place," he said. "Their back line is developing nicely, guys like Danny Care and Owen Farrell are maturing weekly, while Manu Tuilagi, who is a real handful, hasn't even been about lately. They are a difficult team to beat under Lancaster, especially at Twickenham which, of course, is where we last lost."

New Zealand buried the ghosts of their 2012 loss with a 30-22 win back in November but Dagg has emphasised the need for focus when England roll into town in June.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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