England v New Zealand, Twickenham, November 6
Flood relishing Carter showdown
November 4, 2010
England's Toby Flood will win his 32nd Test cap against the All Blacks on Saturday © Getty Images
England fly-half Toby Flood is confident his side can shackle All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter when the two sides go head-to-head at Twickenham on Saturday.
Carter has long been a thorn in England's side and averages more points a game against them - 18.87 - than any other Six Nations or Tri-Nations rival. But Flood believes England can neutralise the threat of Carter in the same way they restrained Australia's Quade Cooper during their second Test triumph in Sydney earlier this year.
"He is a huge part of what they do and what they are about," the Leicester fly-half said. "We need to manage him as well as possible. Because he plays fly-half he is going to have a huge impact on the game and because of that we need to be fully aware of the capability of not only what he has, but also what he can do to bring his team-mates to the game.
"We have changed a couple of things around, not drastically, but in a fashion similar to the second Test against Australia in Sydney when we put pressure on Quade Cooper, and I think we will be looking to do something similar to stop him at source.
"You don't want to go overboard and concentrate on one person but you want to be able to adapt and change your game plan to look after individuals who may be a huge threat, and Dan and Quade are two of those guys who can run the show and cause you huge problems."
Flood has played just one full match for Leicester since damaging knee ligaments earlier in the season and England decided not to release him for Aviva Premiership duty last weekend. But with Jonny Wilkinson out of the autumn series with shoulder damage, England manager Martin Johnson could not risk his first choice fly-half.
Flood has started the last three England Tests, including the win in Sydney, and Johnson believes he is developing into a fly-half to rival the best in the world. "Toby is getting better game by game," Johnson said. "He has missed quite a few in the last two years through injury but it is great to get him on the field and he is just going to grow and grow."
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