Carter: No royal welcome for England

By Chris Foy of the Daily Mail

The All Blacks perform the Haka against Ireland in November last year. Photo / Getty Images
The All Blacks perform the Haka against Ireland in November last year. Photo / Getty Images

Dan Carter missed last week's visit by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, but he has warned England to expect an altogether more hostile reception when they arrive in his country late next month.

The 32-year-old All Blacks first-five is long-established rugby royalty, but when the distinguished guests came to his home city of Christchurch, he was on the American leg of a hectic but fulfilling global tour.

Carter stopped off in New York, at the Masters and the Coachella music festival in California, so he left it to that other Kiwi oval-ball icon, test captain Richie McCaw, to meet and greet the monarchy.

Carter had met Kate once before and William on several occasions, but not this time.

"I can't believe it, I was away travelling when they were in New Zealand - either they didn't time that very well or I didn't time my trip very well," he said yesterday, having crossed the Atlantic to London.

"It created plenty of hype at home. A lot of people were excited about seeing the royals and rubbing shoulders with them."

The next high-profile visitors from these parts will be Stuart Lancaster and his England squad, who will head across the equator for a three-test series at the end of this season.

Carter conceded that they won't receive a royal reception, saying: "There could be quite a contrast in the welcome!

"It probably won't be as friendly, to be honest, but that's because the English rugby team will be seen as a threat to New Zealand, which William and Kate aren't!"

That threat is increasing, in the eyes of Carter and his compatriots, as the world champion All Blacks prepare to confront an England team emerging as a force ahead of next year's World Cup.

Lancaster's team ambushed the All Blacks at Twickenham in December 2012 and ran them close at home last November, before another return of four wins from five games in the Six Nations.

"England are growing as a team," said Carter, speaking at a MasterCard event. "They've built up good momentum in the last few games.

"They haven't been out to New Zealand for a few years, so there will be a lot of hype around the series, and also the All Blacks are coming off an amazing, unbeaten year, so people want to see how they play this year.

"There's going to be a massive amount of interest in that three-match series.

"England are definitely heading in the right direction, but we love playing at home and we have a good record at home, so we're determined to keep that going.

"They will come over with a lot of confidence, so it's important that we play well to stop their momentum and put doubt in their minds."

Carter identifies enhanced English potency behind the scrum as the most significant development in their recent performances.

He added: "Mike Brown has had a lot of accolades and deserves that for the way he has been playing. He has been a real find for the English side and a stand-out player in an exciting back line.

"England have always had a strong, physical pack, but now they have dangerous backs to complement that pack. They have a better balance as a side now."

What the tourists won't have to deal with in the test series is the formidable danger posed by Carter in the All Blacks' No 10 shirt.

He is enjoying a sabbatical from the game, designed to extend his career through the next World Cup and on to 2017 when the Lions return to New Zealand. The break has allowed him to pursue outside interests and opportunities, which led him to Augusta last week and a chance encounter with a golfing icon.

"Going to the Masters was one of those things I'd always wanted to do, so to go there in person was amazing," he said, in his role as an ambassador for MasterCard. "I was there for the opening round, so I saw Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player teeing off at the start, which was a real highlight.

"One day, I was at the local gym down the road from where I was staying. Next thing I know, about five of the golfers walked in and Rory McIlroy was one of those. He came over to shake my hand. He's into his rugby and he was talking about an Ulster game that hadn't gone so well!"

Soon, Carter's focus will switch back to rugby and he may earn another shot at England in June, when they come to Christchurch for a midweek match.

"It would be great to be involved in that game,' he said. 'But I'll have to see what the Crusaders coaches think."

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 Oct 2014 17:48:15 Processing Time: 466ms