New Zealand Rugby
Carter pays tribute to Wilkinson
ESPNscrum Staff
July 8, 2011

All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter has praised Jonny Wilkinson as the Kiwi No.10 looks set to reclaim the all-time points record currently held by his English counterpart.

Carter, who will line up for the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations, is only seven points behind Wilkinson's all-time Test points scoring record of 1,195 and will hope to pass the landmark against either Fiji on July 22 or South Africa on July 30. Carter, who will start for the Crusaders against the Reds on Saturday in the final of Super Rugby, cheekily thanked Toby Flood for keeping the 2003 World Cup winner out of the side.

"When I got the points scorer title back in my last Test match last season I always knew that Jonny would take it over again at some stage," Carter said, talking to the "I'm quite lucky that Toby Flood was playing some good footy and keeping Jonny out otherwise he could've scored a few more points. But it's great to see Jonny back playing, he's deserving of that record, he's been around for a long time and he's a fantastic player. Hopefully I can get a few more games in before the World Cup and get those points back as soon as possible."

Carter has also admitted to working on his drop-goals in a bid to prevent another heartbreaking World Cup for the All Blacks. Carter, who has not kicked a single drop-goal at a World Cup, admits Wilkinson's performance in 2003 illustrated the importance of converting pressure into points. New Zealand narrowly lost to France 21-18 in the quarter-finals in 2007 and failed to take advantage of possession in and around the French 22. For Carter, he believes a drop-goal could be the difference between success and failure.

"Historically, the All Blacks and myself do not take a lot of drop-goals but it's an important part of my position," Carter said. "I'm working away at it and building my confidence so I can bring it out when needed. I know the opposition love playing and beating the All Blacks, just look at the French team on a couple of occasions. It's like they've played their grand final against the All Blacks and the following week you know they'll bum out and not win because they have put everything into the week before against us."

New Zealand start their Tri-Nations campaign against South Africa on July 30 in Wellington and begin their World Cup quest against Tonga on September 9 in Auckland.

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