New Zealand Rugby
Carter unsure he'll last the distance
October 28, 2010
Dan Carter is unsure of his ability to last the full 80 minutes against Australia © Getty Images
Dan Carter may be starting for the All Blacks in Saturday's fourth Bledisloe Cup clash but he is not confident of lasting 80 minutes.
The New Zealand fly-half is still recovering from an injury to his right ankle which remains swollen. He had bone spurs removed from the troublesome area after his side's win over South Africa on August 22 and hasn't featured for his club since.
He will become the seventh most capped All Black when he plays his 75th Test in Hong Kong and was always targetting the clash with old rivals Australia for his comeback. But he admitted was unsure as to how long he would last before Stephen Donald would be summoned from the bench.
"I'm confident I'll be able to get through the first 40 and then I'll play it by ear and maybe make a decision round the 50-60 minute mark," Carter said. "The last thing I want to do is set myself back by playing too much. It's about making smart decisions, there's still a lot of big rugby to be played on this tour."
Carter was encouraged by his contribution to a 40-minute trial game in Auckland last Friday while training since arriving in Hong Kong had also gone without a hitch.
"I've got through a pretty heavy workload in the early part of the week which has been good," he said. "It's my call to play, and the coaches. We've been communicating a lot of over the last three or four weeks. We've always been targeting this game. I'd have liked to have played a game for Canterbury heading into it but the timing didn't work out."
Carter was loth to blame his ankle for any substandard kicking performances this season, although after discussions with skills coach Mick Byrne it is likely to have had a bearing on his accuracy from the tee and in general play.
"Mick analyses my kicking a lot and one of my biggest faults was I was falling away off my right foot, my plant foot was kind of falling away after I kicked which isn't ideal," he said. I think now with the work I've had done hopefully it's going to be stable and stronger down the track."
Meanwhile, the Wallabies' first-choice goalkicker Matt Giteau is also striving to address technical issues after his goalkicking lapses twice cost the Wallabies potential victories this year.
The inside centre missed a crucial late penalty in front against England in June; several failed attempts also helped the All Blacks stage a remarkable comeback to win the last month's Bledisloe Cup test 23-22 in Sydney. Giteau has been tutored by former Springbok Braam van Straaten in a bid to remedy his deficiencies.
"Braam's been good ... I've changed a fair bit of my style," Giteau said. "I was probably falling away on the kicks. They were tailing a bit more than they usually do and not staying straight."
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