Scotland 16-24
Rusty Carter expects better next time
November 16, 2014
Scotland 16-24 New Zealand (Australia only)

Dan Carter admits he has acres of room to improve after making a disappointing return to the All Blacks starting lineup against Scotland. The world class first five-eighth was well off his best in his first start for nearly a year, particularly in the opening exchanges of the tense 24-16 win at Murrayfield.

Handling errors and questionable decision-making were glaring because they came from a player who has been one of world rugby's brightest lights for the last decade. He attributed off-key timing to a lack of rugby, having played in just seven games this year.

That included 30 minutes off the reserves bench against the United States two weeks ago.

"That first 20 was pretty scratchy and there were a lot of mistakes from me personally which, if I get another chance, I'll have to improve," he said. "My option-taking probably wasn't the best at times. But I was pretty pleased to be back out there playing again and I felt as the game went on I grew in confidence."

Carter was replaced after 56 minutes and came through with no physical problems, which is a success in itself given his horrific recent run with injuries. The 32-year-old is unsure if he will be handed another chance in the final tour match against Wales in Cardiff next week.

Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett both mount strong cases to wear No.10 while Colin Slade also impressed after he moved from wing to playmaker following Carter's exit.

Assistant coach Ian Foster says Slade made a fine fist of playing out of position through the first three quarters, working well in tandem with fullback Ben Smith. Foster says patience will be a virtue for Carter and asked that he not be judged too harshly.

"It just shows you how hard it is to come back in to Test rugby and get up to speed quickly," he said. "It was just another box ticked for him."

Victor Vito powers over for a try © Getty Images
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