Rugby: Carter to notch up century with Crusaders

By Nick Tolerton

Daniel Carter (left) reckons playing at No12 is "good for his development". Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Carter (left) reckons playing at No12 is "good for his development". Photo / Getty Images

It's back to the future for Dan Carter tomorrow when he makes his 100th super rugby appearance for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

His debut in 2003 was also against the Hurricanes - and he also spent most of that day at second-five.

And while he scored two tries on his debut, he said just winning was the big priority tomorrow.

"I was filling the boots of Andrew Mehrtens, an absolute legend around these parts of the country, so it was pretty daunting," he said.

"But about 23 minutes into the game he was on the field anyway through an injury and I was pushed out to 12, so that made my job a lot easier."

The only change from the Crusaders team that beat the Stormers last week is Adam Whitelock replacing the injured Sean Maitland on the right wing.

With George Whitelock - playing his 50th Super match - and Sam also starting and Luke on the bench, the match could see all four Whitelocks on the field together for the first time in Super rugby.

Carter is outside Tom Taylor again in a repeat of the pairing that worked so well against the Stormers.

And while the match-up between Taylor and gifted young Hurricanes player Beauden Barrett could have portents for the future in New Zealand rugby, the contest between Carter and Robbie Fruean and Hurricanes' Tim Bateman (an ex-Crusader) and Conrad Smith will also be pivotal tomorrow night.

"They're fantastic readers of the game," he said.

"Timmy and Conrad have got great rugby knowledge and know their times to attack and apply pressure, and they both defend extremely well.

"They're not the biggest guys, but they're always putting their heart and body on the line."

There may not be much new to learn when you're 100, but Carter said playing 12 was "good for my development" and "when I go back to playing 10 - whenever that may be - I will have that knowledge now and know what I want from my 12s."

Looking back over his century, Carter said the things that stood out were his debut and winning the Super 12 championship in his third season - 2005 - after being runners-up in his first two years.

- APNZ

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