Carter's injury a concern, expected to travel

23:08, Sep 16 2012
All Blacks v Springboks
Israel Dagg makes a break against the Springboks.
All Blacks v Springboks
All Blacks Israel Dagg goes in for a try.
All Blacks v Springboks
Richie McCaw on the burst against the Springboks.
All Blacks v Springboks
Conrad Smith on the burst against the Springboks.
All Blacks v Springboks
Ma'a Nonu is tackled.
All Blacks v Springboks
Kieran Read is tackled.
All Blacks v Springboks
All Blacks performing the haka at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
All Blacks v Springboks
The All Blacks face the Springboks at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.
All Blacks v Springboks
All Black Julian Savea gets caught by the South African defence.
All Blacks v Springboks
Richie McCaw in action.
All Blacks v Springboks
All Blacks celebrate their win over South Africa.
All Blacks v Springboks
Aaron Smith scores in the second half.
All Blacks v Springboks
All Blacks Keven Mealamu & Richie McCaw congratulate Aaron Smith after he scored a try.

Dan Carter's calf remains an ongoing concern, but it seems the All Blacks first five eighth is still likely to board the plane to Argentina next Saturday.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said a decision on Carter's fitness would be left as late as possible before the 28-strong squad is announced for the final two matches of their Rugby Championship campaign.

If Carter gets his boarding pass Hansen will have to decide whether to keep Beauden Barrett on as a third first five-eighth, or drop a prop or loose forward out of the 29-man squad that was in Dunedin to play South Africa.

"No he's [Carter] not running full noise yet. The medical staff think he will be [okay], but we'll have to wait and see," Hansen said. "We'll probably make a decision late in the week, probably Friday.

"That's an option [keeping Barrett] we've got, but we've got five props as well, so we might leave one of them at home and we have an extra loose forward too, so we could leave one of them home."

The most vulnerable men would presumably be props Wyatt Crockett and Ben Franks or little used blindside Adam Thomson.

Carter arrived in Dunedin midweek and got through a light running session, but continues to have daily treatment on the calf that has kept him out of the last two tests.

However, concerns about the pivot's role would have eased after Aaron Cruden put his Wellington wobbles behind him in accounting himself well enough against Springboks.

He kicked four of seven goals during the All Blacks 21-11 win over South Africa, tackled particularly well and though he could have kicked a little more for territory in the first half, generally looked in control of the attack.

Aside from Carter, Hansen has no other real injury concerns other than the usual battering taken by inspirational captain Richie McCaw.

"Richie's probably the sorest. He has a pretty sore neck. He got a stinger near the end of the game and a hematoma in his leg, but everyone's expected to be available to get on the plane next Saturday so that's great.

"There's a lot of people who are sore because they've just come out of a physical encounter, but he's probably the sorest and it probably reflects all the work he did. He had a massive test match."

South African prop Dean Greyling has been cited and will face the Sanzar judiciary later today after being sinbinned for punching McCaw in the head in the 63rd minute of last night's test at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Sanzar expect a decision later this evening.

The All Blacks disband today and Hansen said it was important they got away from rugby altogether before the final leg of the Rugby Championship.

"I've instructed them all to go away and forget about rugby and enjoy their families and their children, those who have got them and we'll get back on the circus wheel on Saturday."

That won't include the entire squad with several players expected to be released for national provincial championship duties during the week.

Otago plays North Harbour in Tuesday night, while Auckland play Taranaki on Wednesday.


Dan Carter

The Press