Australia v New Zealand, Sydney, September 11
Cruden to make a statement
September 7, 2010

Youthful All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden is ready step into the boots vacated by legendary playmaker Dan Carter against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

The Hurricanes pivot has served a short apprenticeship, playing five Tests from the bench in 2010, and is now eager to prove that he has the goods to provide long-term back-up to Carter, who is out of action after undergoing ankle surgery.

Carter has been a constant source of information for the former IRB Under-20 Player of the Year, who beat cancer as a teenager, and he is anticipating only a few nerves prior to his first Test start.

"I actually think the nerves will start to come a little bit closer to kickoff," he said."Dan's been outstanding to me, he's really taken me under his wing. I've been picking his brain and probably annoying him a bit but he's been good about it."

Cruden will not be without support on the field as his experienced Hurricanes centre pairing, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, are due to start the game outside him

"I love playing with Ma'a, I've played with him through the Super 14 so we've got a bit of a combination going. That's something that will ease the nerves a bit," he said."If I'm able to keep communicating with them, I'll be able to focus on my role."

The All Blacks will name their team on Thursday, having delayed the announcement due to assistant coach Steve Hansen's troubles following the Christchurch earthquake.


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