Rugby: Carter told to run more

By Dylan Cleaver

now is the time the Crusaders want to see Daniel Carter dictating terms on a personal level. Photo / Getty Images
now is the time the Crusaders want to see Daniel Carter dictating terms on a personal level. Photo / Getty Images

The Crusaders will ask superstar first five-eighth Daniel Carter to run more in a bid to snap him out of a "quiet" patch.

Assistant coach Daryl Gibson said the running game was one of Carter's strengths, but it had not been a big part of his repertoire in recent weeks.

"He's probably been a little bit quiet in recent times," conceded Gibson.

"He's one of these players, because he does everything so well, you sometimes don't notice just how good he is.

"You look at a number of other first-fives playing with a lot more flair, but they also make a lot more mistakes.

"He does a fantastic job of making sure we stick to the game plan and go out and execute everything we need to do," Gibson said.

While the Crusaders have appreciated Carter's direction, now is the time they want to see him dictating terms on a personal level. That means a return to taking on the line with the ball in two hands.

"Sometimes, when you've got the likes of Robbie Fruean, Zac Guildford and Sonny Bill [Williams] around you, you tend to take on less yourself, but it's an area of strength for Dan and something I'd like him to do a bit more," Gibson said.

Aside from Israel Dagg, whose season ended on the Newlands turf during the Crusaders' epic 20-14 win in round 12, the Crusaders should be at full strength.

Richie McCaw is set to start and Kieran Read's recovery from an ankle injury, suffered in the weekend's elimination playoff win against the Sharks, has given his coaches optimism.

"Kieran is looking good. By the end of the week he should be running," Gibson said. "It's been one of those seasons where we've struggled with players all year. It's a pure luxury in this competition to be able to put out close to your full-strength team at this stage of the competition.

"In these sort of games, where it's going to be a big, physical contest, you need your stars playing."

The same cannot be said for the Stormers, who are struggling with their loose forwards to the extent they have made an SOS to Saracen Schalk Brits.

Pieter Louw, Duane Vermeulen and Siya Kolisi, the latter the victim of a mugging, are all injured.

The win in Cape Town last month has given the Crusaders belief, as it was achieved with a weaker side.

The Stormers on the other hand, were probably stronger two months ago.

The biggest obstacle will be the same one faced by any team traversing the Southern Hemisphere, whether they're going left to right or vice versa - adjusting body clocks to a different time zone.

- NZ Herald

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