'Day of heartbreak' for Kiwis

2011-10-03 10:20

Wellington - Rugby-mad New Zealand awoke to its "worst nightmare" with news that the All Blacks' star playmaker Dan Carter was out of the Rugby World Cup, local media reported.

"Day of heartbreak" ran the New Zealand Herald's front page headline following confirmation that Carter had been sidelined for the rest of tournament after picking up a groin injury at training on Saturday.

The Dominion Post posed the question "Can we do it without Dan?" on its front page, highlighting Carter's importance to New Zealand's dream of ending its 24-year World Cup drought on home soil.

"An all black cloud of uncertainty descended nationwide" after the flyhalf's injury, the newspaper reported.

Carter, 29, is adored in New Zealand, where rugby union has been likened to a religion for the country's four million inhabitants - his face stares down from billboards and appears constantly on television advertisements.

He is so popular that national television stations broke into regular programming on Monday for a live broadcast of a press conference where Carter discussed his injury.

While Carter's personal disappointment at missing out on a tournament offered him potentially the crowning achievement of his career was acknowledged, there was also angst about what his loss meant for the All Blacks' prospects.

Former All Black Justin Marshall said New Zealand had dropped from being red-hot favourites to "possibly equal with the pack".

"With Carter, they had a world-class asset that made them odds-on to win the World Cup," he wrote in the Dominion Post.

"Now, they're still among the contenders but have suffered a favouritism setback."

New Zealand Herald rugby columnist Chris Rattue agreed, describing Carter's injury as a "total disaster" that would give heart to the All Blacks' rivals.

"The All Blacks have plummeted from firm to slight favourites and, vitally, their opponents will smell blood," he wrote.

"They will sense sport's most famous chokers have, once again, put a hand to their own throats - and for once we're not talking about the haka."

There was sympathy too from across the Tasman, with Australia's former World Cup-winning skipper John Eales saying there was "no joy in Carter's departure".

"He is a rugby super-star and the tournament will be the poorer for his absence," Eales wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that the All Blacks' response to the setback would be crucial.

"It will be a true test of their mettle - but one that may galvanise rather than destroy them." 

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • Shakes - 2011-10-03 10:29

    What a blow to a great player. Not a nice way to exit, neither for him nor for Frans Steyn, may you both heal well and continue playing great rugby.

      Wow! - 2011-10-03 11:01

      I'm with you on this. Both of these players have made their mark on the world cup todate. To not have them there is very sad.

  • mikemike - 2011-10-03 10:32

    Dan Cater will not be running onto the field in the final, come to think of it nor will the rest of the 15 man squad be either. It really is a pity for Dan, as he is a very modest bloke. Sorry mate.

      Maori - 2011-10-03 10:38

      Mooi Mike- now you can play outside!!

      Thomas - 2011-10-03 14:41

      I'm a kiwi, I thought that was a pretty good gag. see you in the semi, light-weight!

  • ian frost - 2011-10-03 10:58

    Friends of mine once went to a party in Australia after NZ had won the Tri-nations and met Dan Carter. They could only say good things about him, and mentioned how humble he was. While it might be good for South Africa, I also know most of us feel very sorry for him. Same goes for Steyn. Sorry boys, hope you both get better soon.

  • James121 - 2011-10-03 11:10

    Thats tough luck for Carter and the All Blacks. One of the legends of the game. Unfortunately the nature of the professional era is not if, but when. His departure certainly makes the boks job easier, as Slade wasnt all that convincing against the boks and not sure how much game time he has had since then. The pressure will be enormous for the young guy.

  • theprodigy - 2011-10-03 11:43

    one man does not make a team, suck it up

  • Verdi Vendi - 2011-10-03 11:52

    i agree, 1 man does not win a RWC, too much is made of DC, his probably the greatest all black of all time, but he would never win it on his own, once again the NZ media make a huge story, just in case they lose, there is an upset on the cards.

  • steve.vanrooyen - 2011-10-03 12:40

    I agree with John Eales, it just won't be any fun beating the All Blacks without Carter playing...

  • Michael - 2011-10-03 13:16

    Shame! I feel sorry for Daniel Carter. What a star player. I don't know how it feels but I can imagine what it might be like. David Beckham didn't even play in the 2010 World Cup, but Carter actually played and helped the team win. Now, all of a sudden he's out. I'm no All Blacks fan, but as is with rugby I respect them deeply and respect talent and true sportsmanship. Carter never dealt cheap blows to adversaries or played dirty. He's a phenomenal player and all round good guy. Pity his out. Their play maker is no more. Just look at how Quade Cooper is so influential for the Wallabies and how mercurial Butch James was in 2010. How legend Joel Stransky influenced the Bok game all those years ago. It's tough. And it's not like they've got Andrew Mehrtens lined up on the bench. A real shame. But, as they say in the classics, the show must go on! And so it shall. I just wander though: Why do the Springboks play so early (07h00)? Isn't a Wallaby-Springbok Test much more enticing to watch than say Wales-Ireland?! And how engineered is this World Cup? Northern Hemisphere on one side of the draw and Southern on the other. It's so blatant. NZ play Argentina, we play Oz. On the other side the French play the Poms and the Irish the Welsh. So inevitably it will be a North/South affair again.

      Michael - 2011-10-03 13:22

      Edit.: I meant to say Butch James was so mercurial in 2007. Just a tweak in the thought process...

      Thomas - 2011-10-04 08:52

      I agree with most of this, but the Wales Ireland game is on at the same time as the SA AUS game, just different days, I also think it is two form teams colliding, which is good. As for all three SANZAR nations being on one side, they had, for all money, set it up so one would be on one side and two on the other which is all you can do, then the aussies went and screwed that up, but I back you blokes to make them pay the price for that. Then we'll pump you guys. Without Steyn, we can afford to cheat on a greater percentage of the field. Haha In all honesty this weekends rugby line up is pretty cool four good games, well two games.

  • Chronoman - 2011-10-03 13:56

    Well at least the ABs will have another really good excuse.

  • Good Advice - 2011-10-03 16:12

    Not nice too see him go. I feel sorry for our biggest foes, NZ. Steyn was just peaking nicely and now he's also out. The Aussies on the other hand seem to be getting all their players back. David, Digby, Kurtley,... By the sounds of it Richie may also be in trouble.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-10-03 16:53

    Great player and really feel for him not being able to participate further. Unfortunately this is not the day of heart break for the Kiwi's. That is going to be the day of their next match. The choking QF.

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