Carter set to return for Pumas clash
September 1, 2013
Dan Carter chats with All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen ahead of their latest Rugby Championship outing © Getty Images
Dan Carter is set to return to the All Blacks' No.10 shirt for their Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Hamilton on Saturday.
Carter sat out New Zealand's opening two victories with a calf injury with the playmaking duties shared by Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett, Tom Taylor and Colin Slade. But All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has revealed that he looks as though he will be fit for their latest outing at Waikato Stadium against the win-less Pumas.
Taylor has since been ruled out for three week with rib damage suffered during the All Blacks' 27-16 win against the Wallabies in Wellington while Cruden is out with a knee injury and Slade only in the squad as injury cover. As a result it looks as though Carter and Barrett will both play the next Test.
Both Carter and Barrett, who has also been battling a calf problem, ran through a series of light drills today and Hansen said both appeared on track for the game. ''But we'll get a decent look on Tuesday before we make a decision,'' Hansen told Stuff.co.nz.
However, there was not such positive news for two other members of Hansen's squad with Liam Messam and Owen Franks set to be sidelined. Messam has been carrying a hamstring injury, while prop Owen Franks has a groin injury. Centre Ma'a Nonu is another being monitored having been troubled by an ankle injury.
"We'll probably look at introducing a couple of guys, but it will really depend on how we come through the next week because we are a battered lot at the moment," Hansen said. "When we've recover we can look at our selection policy."
Looking ahead to Saturday's game, Hansen added: ''We know that the South Africans have beaten them twice obviously, but the second time they really struggled and the Argentinians put them under a lot of pressure and it wasn't till late in the game with two penalties that they got home.
''So we know it will be physical and we know they will play for 80 so we're going to have to be right on our preparation and right mentally to produce the skill execution we're after,'' he said.
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