Dan Carter overcomes doubts

2014-11-14 07:39
Dan Carter (AFP)

Edinburgh - All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter said he had conquered his own doubts to regain his place in the New Zealand starting line-up for the world champions' match against Scotland at Edinburgh's Murrayfield on Saturday.

After playing a 30 minutes role in the All Blacks' 74-6 win against the USA in Chicago on November 1 - the first leg of their tour of the US and Europe - and performing water boy duties in the 24-21 victory against England at Twickenham last week, Carter returns to the No 10 shirt at Murrayfield.

It will be the 32-year-old's first international start since he collected his 100th cap against England at Twickenham on November 16 last year.

"There has been a lot of frustration throughout the year," admitted Carter, who missed the entire 2014 Rugby Championship season after fracturing a bone in his right leg playing for the Crusaders in their narrow Super Rugby final defeat to Waratahs in early August.

"There have been doubts that have crept in at certain periods but once you get over those and get back to your plan and goals you're a lot more focused on what has to be done," added Carter, international rugby union's record points-scorer.

Pressed on the nature of those doubts, Carter said: "Just all sorts of doubts - with your body when you've had injuries like I've had. That creeps in.

"That's probably the biggest thing - rather than maybe in your darkest time you question whether you're going to put the jersey on again. But that's not really a major one. It's more my body and things like that.

"It's normally straight after an injury and then you soon get out of that hole and move forward.

"There's a lot of excitement about starting this weekend. It's almost 12 months since I last started for the All Blacks and I've talked a lot about what the jersey means to me.

"I'm not going to be happy just to get through 60-80 minutes. Every time I put on the black jersey I want to be one of the best players out there, if not the best - and that's what I'm going to be striving to do this weekend."

That could be bad news for Scotland. Carter was at his masterful best when the countries last met, inspiring the All Blacks to a 51-12 victory in 2012, equalling their highest points tally at Murrayfield.

The Scots have never beaten New Zealand, but an All Blacks XV featuring 13 changes from the team that beat England has encouraged Caledonian hopes of a closer scoreline than the 44-13 average that stands in New Zealand's favour in 11 contests between the countries in the professional era of the game.

In contrast to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, Scotland's Vern Cotter has named an unchanged line-up after his team's 41-31 victory against Argentina last week.

"We showed last weekend that we're developing an attack than can cause opposition teams problems," said Cotter, a New Zealander who was assistant coach at the Crusaders in Carter's early years there.

"If we can force the All Blacks into making errors then we can give ourselves a chance."

Hansen has dismissed the suggestion that his team selection (which has captain Richie McCaw at blindside flank for the first time, third choice flyhalf Colin Slade on the wing and Ben Smith switched from the wing to fullback) indicates that the All Blacks are treating Scotland lightly.

"We're taking Scotland very seriously," Hansen insisted. "We think it's a losable game if we don't compete well and get our feet on the floor quickly.

"We've got a lot of respect for Scotland rugby but we've got our own plans and our own agendas that we've got to live by.

"I think people are totally misreading the situation if they think we are not respecting them."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  dan carter  |  rugby

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