Gregor Paul

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

Rugby: Carter confident for England test

Daniel Carter, rated only 50/50 late last week to start against England, is now confident he'll be wearing the All Black No 10 jersey at Twickenham on Sunday morning.

A damaged Achilles kept him out of the test against Wales but Carter trained on Tuesday morning in London and, while the session was light, he took a full part and said he was optimistic about being declared fit for selection.

"Nothing has changed over the last couple of days," said Carter. "The plan was to get through training, it was pretty light today, I didn't run over 50 per cent but I got through it well.

"I'm pretty confident to be honest and have been doing some positive thinking. It is the last game of the year and the week for me is about doing whatever I can do get myself into position to play.

"We will know a lot more on Thursday - next big training - and we will probably make the decision then."

A veteran of nearly 100 tests, Carter knows his body well enough to know whether it is in good enough nick to play England. He's also conscious that he can't be selfish and say he's ready if he's not.

Having missed the last two tests he's desperate to play and to finish the year on a high.

He has the comfort blanket of knowing that if his leg does tighten again, or become further damaged, that he has a reasonable break before he's required to assemble with the Crusaders.

But the 30-year-old says that while he's determined to play, he won't take any risks.

"I want to play and I know I have a bit of a break after this, but I am not going to do anything silly if I am not right to play, then I won't. I am going to put the team first and if I am going to be hobbling around just to get another cap and not benefiting the team then I won't play."

Having also announced in the last 24 hours that he's expecting his first child with wife Honor, Carter is in remarkably good spirits. He has missed four tests this year due to minor strains and pulls which has inevitably sparked fears about his longevity. The nation might be worried, but the man himself is not.

"I am not concerned just frustrated because believe it or not my body feels pretty good right now. I have just had little niggly injuries not serious ones like I have had in the past. It has just been little tears and tightness which is pretty frustrating.

"I am working through that with the medical team and I guess you are always trying to find reasons why ... but I suppose I am getting on a bit now ...

"I think also because I have had a few serious injuries in the past with my Achilles and my groin, you over compensate: the niggly injuries have been on my right side while the major ones have been on my left."

Read more:

Future dad Dan Carter tries to stay focused
Dan Carter, wife announce pregnancy on Twitter

- NZ Herald

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