Dan Carter ready to stop rampaging Ma'a Nonu
July 4, 2014
Dan Carter adds experience to the Crusaders' backline © Getty Images
Super Rugby Preview: Round 18%]
Dan Carter expects to see heavy traffic running at him after his selection at inside centre for the Crusaders against the Blues in their Super Rugby match at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday.
Carter is making his first Super Rugby start after returning from his six-month sabbatical - having played the last half-hour from the bench in the Crusaders' 16-9 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington last weekend - and he last wore the No.12 jumper in a handful of games midway through the 2012 competition.
His selection in midfield should add starch to the defence, and certainly gives the third-placed Crusaders a left-foot kicking option, with the right-footed Colin Slade retaining his first-five position, and Carter expects to see a lot of rampaging All Blacks team-mate Ma'a Nonu.
"Trying to stop the likes of Nonu coming down that attacking channel will be a good challenge," Carter said. "He's in fine form and playing extremely well and with a lot of confidence. Part of my job and that of the guys around me is to shut him down."
The return to the starting line-up of Carter and captain and No.8 Kieran Read - they boast a combined 260 Crusaders appearances - brings much needed leadership and stability to a team that lost the plot against the Hurricanes.
"This is the part of the season we love most," Carter said. "We're just around the corner from playing finals footy, and that's where we want to be."
Read said he was fully over his concussion issues, confident of playing the full 80 minutes if required.
The Blues beat the Crusaders 35-24 in their round-three match in Auckland, but they have not won in Christchurch for 10 years.