New Zealand
Carter's comeback put on ice
November 3, 2014
Dan Carter played his first Test in 12 months in the 74-6 win over the USA © Getty Images

All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter is unlikely to play against England despite an encouraging return to Test rugby in Chicago.

Carter came on with half an hour remaining to notch his 101st cap in the 74-6 thrashing of the United States, his first Test for nearly a year. The 32-year-old was pleased to simply come through unscathed after his latest battle with injury. However, his efforts are unlikely to earn the Test great selection for the English showdown at Twickenham on Saturday. Instead, the selectors will debate the merits of Beauden Barrett, who was rested this week, and Aaron Cruden.

Chicago was Cruden's first Test since his embarrassing missed flight five weeks ago and subsequent two-match suspension. He impressed with his game control and, although he missed five of his nine shots at goal, may have done enough to leapfrog Barrett, who had started the previous three Tests at No.10.

Hansen indicated Carter was likely to get his next chance against Scotland in Edinburgh the following week. "I thought Cruds was very good and DC was as good as you'd expect after being out for so long," Hansen said. "His game will grow, it's just whether we feel ready to put him out this soon against someone like England. "We might be better off giving him another opportunity against Scotland."

Beauden Barrett is likely to come back into the squad after sitting out at the weekend © Getty Images

Carter landed his three wide conversion attempts and produced some nice touches in his sixth game of first class rugby this year. "I was really pleased to get through 30 minutes unscathed. To be running freely and with no setbacks was encouraging." Carter is confident in his ability to play any role, either starting or off the bench, in the three remaining tour Tests.

He was heartened to have felt nervous throughout the Chicago week as his first game in two months loomed. "To play over 100 Test matches now and still have butterflies going into games, that shows that I really care about this All Black jersey. "When you've sat back and watched as much as I have, you're not wanting to muck up the opportunities that you do get."


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