All Blacks, Wallabies, NRL, Kangaroos, Queensland, Blues, Crusaders

World Cup winning All Black Israel Dagg believes that rugby league is “absolutely dominating” rugby union, as the sport continues to suffer from an entertainment and officiating crisis.

The blunt admission from the former Crusaders fullback came after Ireland’s history-making series win in New Zealand, which included moments of controversy and criticism.

Dagg compared the 15-player game to the State of Origin decider a fortnight ago, which had fans sitting on the edge of their seats right up until the final whistle.

“If I’m going to be completely honest it’s not entertaining. There’s no real entertainment factor to Super Rugby,” Dagg said on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra podcast.

“We’ve got a real situation now where rugby league and rugby union are competing, and rugby league is absolutely dominating.

“I don’t know if you saw the State of Origin the other day, New South Wales vs Queensland. But (it was) probably the game of a century.

“If you want to go watch sport for entertainment, you go watch league at the moment. They’re ticking all the boxes. But one of the big factors for that is that they’ve got clarity in how the game is being played.”

Ireland were exceptional in the second and third Test matches, and thoroughly deserved their first-ever series win over the All Blacks in New Zealand.

But the second Test in particular was marred by some controversy, with All Blacks replacement prop Angus Ta’avao sent off after a head clash with Irish center Garry Ringrose.

On the same night across the Tasman in Brisbane, fans let out a chorus of boos after a Wallaby was controversially sent to the sin bin in the 25-17 loss to England.

Commentators and fans were left fuming after winger Izaia Perese was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, after he dropped the ball when attempting an intercept.

Generally speaking, though, the general state of the game has been under intense scrutiny with the World Cup in France just over a year away.

Israel Dagg playing for the All Blacks in 2015. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“The rules, the officiating (in rugby), it’s confusing. It’s so confusing. It’s so stop-start, there is no ball-in-play,” Dagg added.

“You want to see the ball in play. You don’t want to be sitting there watching a scrum go down or a lineout or a ref going up to the TMO.

“The TMO is p***ing me off. The game of rugby is just too confusing. There’s too much of it, maybe.

“There’s too much rugby on our TVs and people are getting bored. It’s in dire need of change.

“A good start is maybe just getting some common sense up in World Rugby. Some of the officiating is putting people off.”

The All Blacks have retained under-four coach Ian Foster for their upcoming two-match tour to South Africa, while captain Sam Cane has also stepped onto his role.

New Zealand will go head-to-head with rivals the Springboks to start The Rugby Championship, while the Wallabies will meet Argentina.


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