Dan Carter's Rugby Championship is over, his shoulder joint injury ruling him out for six weeks which means his next All Blacks test is likely to come against France in Paris in November.

That will be the 31-year-old's 98th test, the big 100 milestone likely to happen against Ireland in Dublin on the end of year tour if the veteran first-five's body survives the French test and the one a week later against England at Twickenham.

Carter tweeted today of his injury which occurred in the first half of the All Blacks' 29-15 victory over South Africa at Eden Park when he was tackled heavily by Bismarck du Plessis, for which the hooker was sinbinned: "Nothing wrong with the tackle. Fell awkwardly and popped my AC joint.''

Du Plessis followed up the tackle - which sparked an extended scuffle between the two sides - with an elbow to the throat of Liam Messam when he carried the ball in the second half, an act for which he was shown another yellow and, consequently, a red.

Canterbury's Tom Taylor, who has recovered from his rib injury and played for his province in their victory over Otago yesterday will now be brought into the squad, replacing Colin Slade, who will return to the red and blacks.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Aaron Cruden was recovering well from his knee problem and would likely be available to start against Argentina at La Plata in a fortnight.
Hansen will have a selection conundrum for the No10 jersey following Beauden Barrett's excellent performance against the Springboks which catapulted the All Blacks into the Rugby Championship lead.

The other question he and his coaches must ponder is the Richie McCaw one. McCaw is progressing well from his knee injury and Hansen is likely to take a punt on his skipper being available to play in what could be an extremely heated return encounter against the Boks in Johannesburg in three weeks.

To that end, McCaw is likely to travel to Argentina with the 28-player All Blacks squad to continue his training before travelling with the team to the Republic.

If McCaw isn't making the required progress in Buenos Aires he will return home and Matt Todd will travel to South Africa.


In reflecting on the red card for du Plessis, Hansen said it was a necessary evil for acts of foul play.

"It's just part of the game,'' he said. "You've got to be disciplined. Bismarck will be disappointed because probably the first one wasn't a yellow card, but he knew he had been yellow carded and what he did for his second one was just dumb. You can't elbow someone in the throat. He's got to accept that it's his problem, not the referee's. It's the same with our two [yellows to Kieran Read and Ma'a Nonu late in game], both were relatively dumb offences and you've got to accept it.''