New Zealand welcomed back superstars Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams for next month’s Northern Hemisphere tour, but dropped pivot Colin Slade, despite his heroics against Australia at the weekend.
Flyhalf Carter, the world’s most prolific international points scorer, has not played since breaking his leg in the Super Rugby Final in August, while Williams returns to the All Blacks after two seasons playing Rugby League in Australia.
There is also a return for Aaron Cruden, who has finally been forgiven for his late-night indiscretion in the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.
Coach Steve Hansen also recalled flank Victor Vito at the expense of Steven Luatua, and included promising scrumhalf Augustine Pulu as the only uncapped player in the squad for the four-Test tour.
Before we start treating an All Blacks victory in Brisbane as a fait accompli its worth considering a few things.
It is true that the Wallabies are in a state of disarray, and must be vulnerable.
Their legacy of player power has come back to bite them, and it is extraordinary that their captain should be publically defending a repeat offending player ahead of the team unit, and by extension the coach.
Ewen McKenzie has tried to take a firm line in the past, but despite his strong actions on the end of year tour last year has been unable to instil a sense of no nonsense in the team.
All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu has been linked to French club Toulon as the European champions ramp up recruitment ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Respected French newspaper Midi Olympique claims Toulon are close to finalising a two-year deal with the veteran New Zealand midfielder.
Sir Graham Henry would pick Dan Carter for the next World Cup though admits the veteran first-five now needs to earn his starting position ahead of two young “world class” alternatives in Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett.
Today is a year-to-the-day before the Rugby World Cup tournament began at Twickenham with a match between England and Fiji.
The defending champion All Blacks will launch their campaign two days later with a match against Argentina at Wembley Stadium.
Dan Carter could yet wander into the eye of Canterbury’s national provincial championship “storm”.
Since suffering a fractured fibula during the Super Rugby final on August 2 Carter hasn’t added to his 100 test caps and may be asked to make a rare appearance for Canterbury before returning to the All Blacks.
Coach Steve Hansen confirmed that Carter, who has been with the All Blacks in Napier this week, has begun jogging and his immediate playing future will soon be mapped out.
“It is just a matter of whether we bring him straight back in for test rugby or whether we bring him back for (NPC) and with a few games under his belt,” Hansen said.
This time, Ewen McKenzie couldn’t bite his tongue.
Two weeks in a row All Blacks coach Steve Hansen fired barbs his way – the first about the Australian Rugby Union influencing Kurtley Beale’s selection and this week questioning how much more the Wallabies had to give.
Before yesterday, McKenzie wasn’t biting. But, finally, the Wallabies coach couldn’t help throwing out one subtle jab.
“Steve has got lots of thoughts. I enjoy reading his thoughts,” McKenzie began.
“Last week he was picking the team. This week he’s wondering about our improvement. We’ll just concentrate on what we’re about. That worked alright for us last week.”
The past few years has seen Rugby’s world be dominated by one group of Villains that we have come to respect, hate, admire, deride, sledge and applaud. Let’s take a look at these Bad Guys and their alter-egos – whilst not forgetting that most of these guys eventually get their comeuppance. – Enjoy!
15. Ben Smith -Keyser Soze – The usual Suspects
This is one of those moments where we are lulled into a false sense of security. The guy looks harmless enough and seems to melt into the background when surrounded by other more unsavory types. But it is with the Big reveal that things unfold and the manipulator truly emerges.
Colin Slade has been called into the All Blacks as injury cover for Dan Carter.
Carter fractured the fibula bone in his right leg during last weekend’s Super Rugby final loss to the Waratahs in Sydney and would be sidelined for one month. He would miss at least the first two Bledisloe Cup tests.
All Black flyhalf Dan Carter will be sidelined for at least half of New Zealand’s Rugby Championship campaign after cracking a fibula in last weekend’s Super Rugby Final.
Carter left the field during the Crusaders’ 32-33 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney after an injury to his lower leg, which the franchise said was a hairline crack to the bone which would need at least four weeks to heal.
“A scan has revealed a small crack in his upper fibula. The size of the crack meant it was not originally picked up by an X-ray and required a scan to locate it,” the Crusaders said.
Star flyhalf Dan Carter has been returned to the All Blacks squad for this season’s Rugby Championships against Australia, South Africa and Argentina at the expense of his Crusaders’ teammate Colin Slade.
Carter, the world’s leading points-scorer in tests with 1,440, missed New Zealand’s June test matches against England while on a seven-months “sabbatical” from rugby during which he toured the world, attending events such as this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
The 32-year-old returned to the Crusaders squad for its most-recent matches in Super Rugby, including Saturday’s semifinal against the Sharks, but has been playing at inside center to allow Slade to continue at flyhalf.
Dan Carter, refreshed after his break away from the game and energised by his performance against the Sharks and the opportunities of the week ahead, is promising more.
The All Blacks No10, excelling in his role at second-five for the Crusaders outside Colin Slade, expects an improvement from his team for the final against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night, and, just as importantly for a winner-takes-all match, better accuracy from his goalkicking.
New Zealand exhales. Turns out rumours of the decline of Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter have been greatly exaggerated.
McCaw and Carter both produced timely high-quality performances in Christchurch tonight as the Crusaders won through to their 11th – yes, 11th – Super Rugby final with a 38-6 dismantling of the Sharks. The Red ‘n Blacks are now 80 minutes away from their eighth championship – but notably a first since 2008.
On a night when Kieran Read illuminated the big occasion with a stellar demonstration of his remarkable quality, and Fijian find of the year Nemani Nadolo was equally as destructive, the old soldiers McCaw and Carter were not a million miles off the standard set by the best player in the world.
With Read, this sort of stuff is as predictable as it is enjoyable. He is a colossus of the game completely at the peak of his powers. His every minute on the field these days is to be savoured.
Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Israel Dagg and Nemani Nadolo all return to the starting line-up for the Crusaders this weekend when they take on the Blues at AMI Stadium.
They are four of six new faces in the starting 15.
In the forwards, Ben Funnell and Owen Franks have taken starting spots in place of Corey Flynn and Nepo Laulala, who will be ready to inject some energy off the bench.
The stage is set for Dan Carter and Kieran Read to take command of the Crusaders for the final rocky weeks of Super Rugby, but coaching staff are cagey about the duo’s prospects of starting against the resurgent Blues.
All Blacks flyhalf Carter, working his way back after a six-month sabbatical, and number eight Read came off the bench in the second half against the Hurricanes on Saturday but were powerless to stop their side falling to a 16-9 defeat.
The disappointing loss in Wellington has prompted calls for the pair to be thrown straight in against the Blues, who re-ignited their season with a confidence-boosting rout of the Western Force last week.
Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to play the Hurricanes this weekend. The team will head to Wellington on Friday to prepare for the game at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
Eight players have returned from the All Blacks to make the team, including prop Wyatt Crockett who will pack down with Corey Flynn and Nepo Laulala in the front row. Owen Franks will provide front row cover alongside Joe Moody and Ben Funnell on the bench.
Locks Dom Bird and Sam Whitelock will pair up in the second row, and Matt Todd will wear the No 7 jersey with Richie McCaw ruled out with a broken rib. Jordan Taufua and Luke Whitelock join him in the loose forwards with Kieran Read and Jimmy Tupou named in the reserves.
Dan Carter has played barely 120 minutes of club rugby since embarking on his sabbatical last November, but he has declared himself available for selection against the Hurricanes.
It is unlikely that the super-star flyhalf will be thrown straight into the mix. If selected, Carter would probably start off the bench.
Colin Slade, who was a member of the All Blacks squad for the recent series against England, is tipped to start at flyhalf Wellington as the Crusaders look to consolidate their position at the head of the New Zealand conference.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter will make his comeback to rugby after six months in a minor club match in rural Canterbury province on Saturday.
Carter will play for the Southbridge club, where he began his career, in a local championships match against Glenmark.
Dan Carter has put his jet-setting lifestyle to bed and is back on the training pitch as he prepares himself for a return to rugby.
The experienced All Blacks flyhalf has been using his sabbatical this year to mingle with sports and entertainment celebrities around the planet, from Elton John to Rory McIlroy.
New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter is hoping to bring an end to his sabbatical and make his Super Rugby return for the Crusaders in July.
The 32-year-old, the highest points scorer in test rugby, is hoping the six-month rest will help extend his international career through New Zealand’s defence of the World Cup in 2015.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter will have surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, which is a separate issue from his Achilles injury.
New Zealand’s Kieran Read says his side will be more eager to mark Dan Carter’s 100th cap with a good performance than avenge last year’s loss to England when the teams meet on Saturday.
Carter, 31, will become the fifth All Black to reach a century of caps if he plays at Twickenham.
Chris Rattue, one of the well-known New Zealand Rugby Journalists, wants Dan Carter not to be selected for the England clash and he believes Dan does not have the magic of old anymore.
It was not the perfect weekend for the All Blacks, with France running them close. This begs the question whether Daniel Carter is still the flyhalf maestro he once was.
All Blacks coach, Steve Hansen, says the All Blacks will be better against England compared to how they went against France.
The End Of Year Tours (Autumn Internationals) starts this coming weekend and this week we should see a lot of news in preparation of these Tours. The New Zealand NPC is over, the South African Currie Cup has a new Champion, now the International stage lights up again!
The New Zealand All Blacks believe Dan Carter will be ready to face Japan and has also sent an S.O.S. call to prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen as cover for Joe Moody who was injured in the NPC Final.
With the All Blacks having beaten the Springboks over the weekend, in The Rugby Championship, they have extended their lead to four points over the second placed Springboks.
It would however seem that not everything is sunny in the All Black camp though.
Flyhalf Daniel Carter will return to the New Zealand side for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina after recovering from a calf strain, while centre Francis Saili will make his test debut.
The 31-year-old Carter had been expected to play the first Rugby Championship match against Australia in Sydney last month but pulled up with the injury at training and missed the return fixture in Wellington.
The All Blacks look set to welcome back star flyhalf Dan Carter from injury as they returned to training ahead of their Rugby Championship clash with the Pumas next weekend.
The bulk of the squad – excluding 10 players who were released for provincial duty – reassembled for their first training session in Hamilton on Sunday following a timely week-long break.
The latest flyhalf injury to hit the All Blacks seems a minor setback for coach Steve Hansen whose major issue appears to be who to cut when all players are fit.
Tom Taylor, New Zealand’s fourth-ranked flyhalf, has been sidelined for three weeks with a rib injury suffered late in Saturday’s 27-16 win over Australia where he made his Test debut with a confident display.
Flyhalf Dan Carter will miss New Zealand’s first two Rugby Championship Tests against Australia and could be sidelined for up to four weeks with a calf strain.
New Zealand’s star flyhalf Dan Carter will take an extended break from the game next year to ensure he is fit for the 2015 World Cup.
The 31-year-old, the highest points scorer in international rugby, is under contract with New Zealand until the end of 2015.
However, like All Black captain Richie McCaw – who sat out the first six months of this year – Carter has a clause allowing him to take a sabbatical.
New Zealand have recalled fit-again flyhalf Daniel Carter and scrumhalf Piri Weepu for the third and final test against France in New Plymouth on Saturday.
Ace All Black flyhalf Dan Carter has been cleared to play in next week’s third Test against France, while Les Bleus have lost two key players.
Dan Carter heads a string of injured All Blacks less than a week from the first Test against France, with coach Steve Hansen unable to confirm Monday if his star playmaker would take the field.
X-rays have revealed Carter cracked a bone in his right hand during the Crusaders’ 23-22 win over the Waratahs in a Super Rugby match last Friday.
The Crusaders, already without Richie McCaw, suffered another captaincy blow ahead of their tour to South Africa.
It can be hair-raising but Dan Carter says the Crusaders’ hectic game-plan is here to stay.