Carter likely to return

2013-06-18 10:10
Daniel Carter (AFP)
Wellington - Flyhalf Daniel Carter is likely to return to the starting side for New Zealand in their final Test against France on Saturday with expectations he can spark the side to even higher performance levels.

The All Blacks produced a near perfectly executed game plan as they overwhelmed France 30-0 in Christchurch on Saturday with their tactical kicking forcing Philippe Saint-Andre's team back into their own territory.

It was a stark contrast to the expansive approach the team took last year and in the first Test at Eden Park where they were rusty in the 23-13 victory and assistant coach Ian Foster said their development was about blending both styles.

"It's not our goal just to do one or the other, it's to do both and I was really impressed with the decision-making of ... when to kick," Foster said in comments published in the New Zealand Herald on Tuesday.

"It's exciting where we got to, don't get me wrong ... but we're fully aware that there's still plenty of potential to get smarter and better at how we see that space."

Carter, who missed the first two Tests with a broken hand, is expected to be one of a small handful of changes for the third Test in New Plymouth as coach Steve Hansen continues his rebuilding plans for their World Cup defence in 2015.

With the series already sealed, Ben Smith, who many pundits had suggested should be starting fullback after superb form in Super Rugby, could also move to centre from the wing.

The 27-year-old Highlanders utility has been touted as a long-term successor to stalwart Conrad Smith, who will miss the All Blacks' end-of-year tour in Europe as part of a sabbatical clause in his contract, in the number 13 jersey.

"We got told it was a risk playing him on the wing when he was a fullback but he's been pretty good on the wing the last two weeks," Foster added of Ben Smith's sparkling form.

"He's a well-rounded footballer and he'll deal with any challenges we give him."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  daniel carter  |  rugby

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