Carter always had plan to strike it rich and McCaw eyed black jersey from young age.

A young Dan Carter planned to strike it rich. Richie McCaw grew up with a dream to be an All Black.

Both men certainly achieved those goals and now they are about to say goodbye to the Canterbury region in which they found so much success.

Carter and McCaw will play their final matches in Christchurch when the All Blacks meet Argentina at AMI Stadium tonight, bidding farewell to the province where it all began.

Ahead of the All Blacks' opening Rugby Championship game of the year against the Pumas,All Blacks captain Richie McCaw isn't thinking about his (potential) last test in Christchurch and wants better ball and better decisions made.

Long before they first delighted the Canterbury public, Carter and McCaw were raised as typical country boys, albeit with lofty goals.


"The local newspaper did a profile on him when he was 12," said Neville Carter, Dan's dad. "One of the questions was, 'what do you expect to make out of rugby?' And he said $1 million."

2005: When Dan Carter tamed the Lions
2008: McCaw's quiet day at the office

Carter, set to take up a world-record contract in France following the World Cup, always exhibited the talent needed to reap the rewards from rugby.

Gifted a set of goal-posts in his backyard for his eighth birthday, Carter was slotting sideline conversions at age 10.

"He was always a very talented child but he worked very hard," said Chris McMillan, manager of Carter's first club, in rural Southbridge.

"At the end of games, he'd always be out there kicking goals. His father was a pretty handy goal-kicker and a couple of his uncles were goal-kickers, too. I think it was handed down in the genes."

He has played 103 tests for the All Blacks over 13 years, but there is still improvement to come from Dan Carter, believes coach Steve Hansen. Carter, 33, is preparing to play his last test in Christchurch before his move to Paris after the World Cup, but rather than a sense that something is ending, there is more a feeling of new beginnings - partly because of that global tournament getting closer by the day, one in which Carter has yet to taste personal success, and partly because recently he has seemed to be constantly returning from injury.

That was hardly the case with McCaw, widely expected to retire after leading the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup defence.

McCaw senior never played rugby but, according to his mum, Richie's abilities were evident from a young age.


"He showed a good grasp of the game right from the word go," said Margaret McCaw. "He wasn't boastful about the fact that he'd like to be [an All Black] but, deep down, he thought he could go a wee way."

The path that led McCaw to first Canterbury and then the Crusaders actually began in a North Otago club competition at Kurow.

But McCaw has bled red and black since making his debut for the province in 1999.

"He's a true Canterbury boy, through and through," Margaret McCaw said.

Carter has displayed similar loyalty since first running out at the old AMI Stadium, rejecting offers from other teams to remain in the region throughout his career.

"It's been quite a commitment in the last few years, travelling two or three times a week up to Auckland and back with his family," Neville Carter said.

"But it was a great thrill to follow him right through. Hopefully the crowd will enjoy Richie and Dan's performances [tonight] and give them a good farewell."