All Blacks: Israel Dagg looks towards life after rugby after announcing retirement

All Blacks outside back Israel Dagg is looking on the bright side following his premature retirement from rugby.

After struggling with a knee injury for seasons, the 30-year-old has made the hard decision to give the game away entirely.

He's tried everything to fix his right knee, including undergoing stem cell therapy, but nothing has properly worked. 

Dagg was a star of the 2011 World Cup winning team and played 66 tests for the All Blacks, as well as more than 100 Super Rugby games.

But injuries have prevented him from playing more games and he's been out of the game for six months, last playing club rugby in Japan.

Dagg said the decision to retire was tough, but he's looking forward to spending more time with his wife Daisy and two children, Arlo and Tilly.

"It was all going to end one day - a lot earlier than I thought, but it is what is," he told media in a press conference.

"The more I was playing on [the knee], the worse it got, and I think it was just affecting me mentally.

"I wasn't able to do the things I was able to do and perform, and when you're playing in the Crusaders or the All Blacks, you've got to perform, and I felt like I wasn't doing that.

Israel Dagg with his mother and wife.
Israel Dagg with his mother and wife. Photo credit: Getty

He said the decision to leave the game was made as a family.

"I've just got think about number one, which is my kids and my wife, and the best thing about it is I get to spend some quality time with them."

Dagg then revealed he came close to walking away from the game four years ago, but Crusaders coach Scott 'Razor' Robertson helped him rediscover his love for the game.

"Every game putting on that jersey is a highlight and I've created some special highlights over the years, especially under Razor," Dagg said.

"He's made me enjoy the game. I fell out of love of the game in 2015, and I was close to doing what I'm doing today [retiring].

"I have lots of time with the Crusaders, and I'm spending the rest of the year with the team and watch them put a smile on people's faces, which is the important thing."

Dagg plans to spend the rest of the Super Rugby season helping the Crusaders to a third straight title, before stepping away from the game and doing something different.

As for what that new life would be? He admitted working in the media would be an option.

"I'm pretty passionate about talking and doing a bit of TV and doing some radio - [it's] something I'd be pretty keen to get into," he said.

"I just want to try something else, whatever it is. I'm sure now that I've announced this some doors will open up and things will fall into place."