South Africa 22-29 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Johannesburg, August 21
Carter ruled out for eight weeks
August 22, 2010
Dan Carter is out for eight weeks © Getty Images
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is set to undergo ankle surgery on Tuesday and will be out of action for up to eight weeks.
The Crusaders playmaker landed 14 points with the boot as the All Blacks secured the Tri-Nations title with a thrilling 29-22 win over South Africa in Soweto on Saturday but has opted for surgery after increasing trouble with his right ankle.
"It's reached the point now where it is restricting his ankle flexibility and, in turn, affecting his calf muscle strength, so now is the right time to have surgery," All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson said.
Carter will miss the All Blacks' final Tri-Nations Test, against Australia in Sydney on September 11, but there is optimism that he will be fit for their end-of-season tour to the northern hemisphere. The procedure will involve removing loose material from the joint at the back of his ankle while a bone spur would also be removed from the front.
"Given that movement in my foot is being affected, it's obviously in my best interests to have the surgery now. I've been in this situation before and understand what is involved so will get through the surgery and rehab and then look forward to getting back into rugby," he said.
Hurricanes fly-half Aaron Cruden has been providing back-up to Carter this season, making five appearances from the bench, but All Blacks coach Graham Henry is keeping his options open. He will take in some domestic action before deciding on Carter's replacement, with Cruden having been released to play for Manawatu in the coming weekends.
"Dan is the ultimate rugby professional when it comes to injury rehabilitation and, with the help of the All Blacks medical staff, he will be getting the best treatment possible and we look forward to his return to rugby," he said. "Looking ahead to the Sydney Test, the selectors will look at a replacement player for Dan so we will be watching a bit of ITM Cup rugby over the next two weekends and confirm the player in due course."
In addition to Cruden, Israel Dagg will turn out for Hawke's Bay, Liam Messam for Waikato, Rene Ranger for Northland and Anthony Boric for North Harbour. Auckland duo John Afoa and Benson Stanley will also be in action while Ben Franks will boost Tasman the following week, along with the Canterbury trio of Corey Flynn, Owen Franks and Sam Whitelock.