Rugby: Dan Carter's vision of game makes him so great - Hastings

Dan Carter kicks a penalty for Racing 92. Photo / Getty
Dan Carter kicks a penalty for Racing 92. Photo / Getty

Former Scottish star Scott Hastings says Dan Carter is revolutionising perceptions of attacking rugby with his hot form for French Top 14 pacesetters Racing 92.

Hastings made the observation when asked about rising Scottish star Finn Russell who will find himself marking Carter when the Glasgow Warriors face Racing this weekend in a rescheduled European Cup tie, originally postponed due to the Paris terrorist attacks in November last year.

In cautioning against the local hype surrounding Russell, Hastings said the young star still has much to learn and will be put to the acid test this weekend in trying to match the world's best No. 10.

Hastings, who played 65 tests for his country, believes Russell must look to take the game to 33-year-old Carter to show he is the man for Scotland's forthcoming Six Nations tournament campaign and beyond.

"Russell undoubtedly could be one of the great No 10s of Scottish rugby," said Hastings.

"He has to be patient. He has to read Carter, watch him and have a go at him. Have a go and stick to him like a bit of glue.

"Russell has had a little bit of a mixed start to the season. He is a cocky, confident type of player who plays flat to the gainline.

"What I saw of him against Edinburgh is a player who doesn't quite manage his game as well as other controlling fly-halves. What I mean by that is varying his tactics, varying his kicking, but when he is on fire he runs a very good backline.

"He enhanced his credentials with a good World Cup. In the fly-half position, you are not going to manage the game right from the start of your career.

"You need to build your reputation. If you look back at fly-halves like Gregor Townsend, Craig Chalmers and John Rutherford, it takes a number of years to get that experience of international rugby."

There can be no greater challenge for Russell, 10 years the junior of Carter. But it is the former All Black's vision and off-the-cuff ability that excites Hastings the most.

"Carter's skill level is excellent," he continued. "All great rugby players and all great sportsmen have tremendous skill.

"He can kick off both feet, pass off both hands, his sidestepping ability is brilliant, too. He reads the game so well, proved by that wonderful offload against France in Cardiff at the World Cup.

"He was mesmeric down there. Great players do that and he really has it all. You stand beside him and he is not the biggest fella in the world but he understands the game.

"In our game you have footballers and rugby players - Dan Carter is a footballer. Footballers read the game, rugby players just play rugby.

"Rugby is still a thinking man's game - the guys with the vision are the ones that will maybe go off-piste and look to attack in areas, pull players out and really guide and manage a game.

"That's what the game needs, it does not need robotic rugby players sticking their hands up, putting their defensive systems in place. If it is on, it's on and I think Carter is one of those who reads it really well and he is prepared to attack from anywhere on the field."

- staff reporter and Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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