Dan Carter (Getty)
Cardiff - If Dan Carter cannot play at home
in New Zealand there is no place he would rather be than Cardiff's Millenium
stadium where the All Blacks face Georgia in their third Rugby World Cup match
"It's probably my favourite stadium in
the world," the record-scoring fly-half declared on Monday with a comment
sure to win support from supposedly neutral but rugby passionate Welsh fans for
the Pool C match.
The view is shared by other All Blacks with
Jerome Kaino, back for a fifth time to Cardiff, describing it as "a great
stadium and the atmosphere is awesome."
Carter is retiring from Test rugby after
the World Cup and will end his playing days with Racing92. The Paris team's
home ground Stade Yves-du-Manoir was the centrepiece of the 1924 Olympic Games.
The capacity is 14 000 however.
But it does not compare to the crowd, the
roof, and overall atmosphere at the 74 000 capacity Millenium Stadium for
Carter who has played there seven times.
The six victories were all against Wales
while the one loss, the 2007 World Cup quarter-final against France, no longer
figured in his memory, Carter declared.
"It's just an amazing place to play,
an awesome atmosphere," said the 33-year-old who has played 107 Tests and
scored a world record 1 532 Test points.
In his seven Tests at the Millenium stadium
he has scored 106 points from 22 penalties, 15 conversions and two tries.
Because Wales are playing Fiji at the
ground on the day before the All Blacks play Georgia, there will be no
traditional eve of match training there nor kicking practice. But that did not
"I've played there enough as have the
other kickers in the team played here a couple of time so we're used to the
conditions," he said.
"As a kicker it's quite handy having a
roof take away any wind or rain."
Carter likened the Welsh love of rugby as
similar to New Zealand which made it special.
"They are so vocal and that's always
an added bonus, It's always pretty electric inside the stadium," he said.
"Obviously we're not playing Wales
this time so it will be slightly different but still a capacity crowd."
The All Blacks have won their two opening
World Cup pool games against Argentina and Namibia while Georgia began with a
win over Tonga before being beaten by Argentina.
Assuming the All Blacks qualify from Pool C
they will be back at Millenium Stadium in three weeks for a quarter-final
against either Ireland or, ominously, France who shape as the two teams to
emerge from Pool D.