Carter sets sights on Rugby World Cup 2015
March 26, 2012
Dan Carter made his long-awaited return from injury against the Cheetahs on Saturday night © Getty Images
All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter may have only just made his comeback following a five-month injury enforced lay off but he is already setting his sights on the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The 30-year-old playmaker came off the bench during the Crusaders' 28-21 victory over the Cheetahs on Saturday night having been out of action since being struck down with a groin injury on the eve of New Zealand's Rugby World Cup clash with Canada in October.
The pain was felt throughout the host nation and while the All Blacks weathered the blow to claim the sport's biggest prize, Carter was forced to watch their long-awaited triumph from the sidelines. Surgery swiftly followed before an intense rehabilitation programme that culminated with his appearance at half-time in what was the Crusaders' first game in Christchurch in almost two years due to the earthquakes that rocked the region.
Having returned to the Super Rugby arena, the 85-Test veteran is determined to erase the memory of his recent injury woe with a return to the World Cup stage.
"I would love to get to another World Cup," he wrote in his latest blog for therugbysite.com. "I would love to play for the All Blacks in England in 2015. I have been to three World Cups and I've had injuries in all of them. But I still think I'm extremely young. I have re-signed to New Zealand for four years. I have the experience. Now I just need to get back out there and do it."
Carter admits he is still some way from his best and that his rivals for the All Blacks' No.10 shirt are hard on his heels with a lot of hard work required if he is to reclaim his place ahead of the opening Test clash of the year against Ireland in Auckland on June 9.
"My punting and drop kicking are back to full strength, but I am still easing back into goal kicking," . "I won't pretend that it's not nerve racking. How can the muscle I pulled in training before our final World Cup pool game not be in the back of my mind? The niggle may just still be in the brain, but it's there.
"So I am working hard on that rehab. I have lost power, flexibility and strength and it doesn't come back overnight. So far I have been kicking goals from the 22 metre line in practice and from 15 metres in from touch. I need to build power. I am already more comfortable but it takes time to build the confidence. That comes from doing it. Again and again.
"I know I will need to play well because there are some fantastic young tens coming through. [The Hurricanes'] Beauden Barrett's goalkicking has been second to none and he keeps a calm head through the storm of a game. [The Chiefs'] Aaron Cruden has really improved his all round game and is also kicking well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton