England v New Zealand, December 1
Carter hopeful of facing England
ESPN Staff
November 27, 2012
New Zealand's Dan Carter exploits some space, Scotland v New Zealand, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 11, 2012
Dan Carter featured against Scotland for the Kiwis © Getty Images
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New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is optimistic that he will be fit to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Carter was a late withdrawal from the Kiwi side that beat Wales last weekend 33-10 as he was suffering with a calf injury he sustained in training on the Thursday. Aaron Cruden started in Carter's place and knocked over 18 points to help them to their 33-point total.

But Carter, who started against Scotland in the first of their four Tests this autumn, is likely to step straight back into the All Blacks side if he is fit in what will be the Kiwis' final match of the season.

"Hopefully I'll be ready, nothing's changed over the last couple of days," Carter said. "The plan was to get through training and it was pretty light today, I didn't go over 50%. I got through it well.

"We're looking after it well and doing everything right to be ready for this weekend. I'm pretty confident I'll be right to play, I just need some positive thinking. It's the last game of the year and I want to be part of it."

England last beat the All Blacks back in 2003 with the Kiwis winning all nine of their last meetings, something that Carter finds hard to comprehend. "Yes I'm surprised England haven't done more since 2003. They've shown the strength of their side only in patches since then," Carter said. "Maybe consistency is what's been lacking. They've got the players, so talent's not an issue. They can beat any side on their day.

"It was in 2003 that I got the All Black jersey for the first time, though unfortunately I didn't get the chance to get on. England were in their prime and had a pretty successful year. They taught us a lesson at home. We have real pride in not losing at home and they took it to us that night."

The 30-year-old will win his 94th cap on Saturday, but injury is beginning to interrupt his career. Once the final whistle sounds at Twickenham All Blacks captain Richie McCaw begins a six-month sabbatical designed to increase his longevity in the game and Carter may follow suit in the future.

"The injuries are causing frustration more than concern. Believe it or not my body feels in pretty good nick," Carter said. "They're just little niggling injuries, little tears or tightness. I'm getting on a bit now! The sabbatical is in my contract but I haven't thought too far beyond this year." "The drive, hunger and desire to play my best each week are still there."

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