Ireland v New Zealand, Aviva Stadium, November 20
Posts hinder Carter's record tilt
ESPNscrum Staff
November 20, 2010
Dan Carter coasts over for another New Zealand score, Scotland v New Zealand, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 13, 2010
Dan Carter is 21 points behind Jonny Wilkinson © Getty Images

All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter needs 21 points to usurp Jonny Wilkinson as test rugby's highest point-scorer but his chances of breaking the record against Ireland on Saturday could be undermined by some hard-to-see uprights.

Ireland's new glass-encased Aviva Stadium has been causing problems for kickers unable to pick out the 'invisible' posts and New Zealand's masterful No.10 could be relying more on instinct than eye-sight as he tries to hunt down Wilkinson's total of 1178 points.

Because Aviva Stadium has only a single tier of green seating, a set of uprights is almost camouflaged against the backdrop which apparently makes it difficult for kickers to pick out the posts or gauge distances. The idiosyncrasy was first noticed when the venue was road tested by two club teams last month.

"Kickers were saying that because of the unique shape of the stadium and that part of it is glass, seeing the posts and, therefore, judging the amount of power to apply was hard," said Connacht academy fullback Callum Boland. "The posts just blended in which proved to be deceiving, I think it's an extra challenge the players will have to learn to adapt to."

The All Blacks had their first look at the state-of-the-art 51,000 venue on Friday and the hard-to-pick-out posts did not go unnoticed.

"I was just talking to DC (Carter) about that, you don't want to line up on the wrong post but I'm sure they'll be all right,"' said All Black captain Richie McCaw.

Andrew Mehrtens, Carter's predecessor as the All Blacks chief source of points, also noticed the anomaly when he visited the venue to catch up with some former teammates. "A couple of the guys have mentioned it, it could be interesting,"' he said.

Mehrtens, who amassed 967 in 70 tests between 1995 and 2004, doubted his fellow Cantabrian would be troubled by the configuration of the stadium.

"If you know you're kicking well enough like DC does, it's not like he can't see the posts when he's first lining the ball up. I love watching him kick, love watching him play and scoring points. The sooner a New Zealander is on the top the better."

History suggests Wilkinson's record may be safe until the potentially Grand Slam-clinching visit to Cardiff next weekend because in three previous tests against the Irish the New Zealander has averaged 11.6 points per game.

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