Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has described Dan Carter as "a once in a generation player" as the Red Dragons cast a wary eye towards the All Blacks next week.
Not that Wales can afford to take an eye off their immediate target, Samoa.
They play Samoa on Saturday (NZ time), looking to bounce back from their 26-12 loss to Argentina.
But such is the Welsh preoccupation with the All Blacks, that topic inevitably came up as Edwards was quizzed about the last weekend of international action in Europe.
That included the All Blacks blitzing Scotland 51-22 with Carter a central figure.
Edwards has the job of trying to set up a system to contain the All Blacks when they clash in Cardiff on November 25 (NZ time) and he was lavish in his praise for Carter.
"He is a once in a generation player, isn't he?" Edwards said.
"You have to sometimes stand back - it's like watching Lionel Messi play football - and realise that you are just glad you were around to see him.
"I just hope he doesn't play too good against us.
"I thought after Scotland intercepted a Carter pass and scored a try, it was probably the worst thing that could have happened to them.
"He was absolutely breathtaking after that. He virtually took it upon himself to correct what he had done wrong and the tries flowed for New Zealand."
Carter could be rested by the All Blacks this weekend against Italy, freshening him up for the two big assignments on this tour - against Wales and England on consecutive weekends.
Wales, the Six Nations champions, are in a slump. Their loss to the Pumas came on the back of three narrow defeats to the Wallabies in June.
Caretaker coach Rob Howley is under pressure to get things right against a Samoan side that crushed Canada 42-12 last weekend.
Wales have further injury problems with lock Alun-Wyn Jones (shoulder) and flanker Josh Turnbull (knee) ruled out of the rest of the autumn rugby series because of their injuries in the 26-12 loss to Argentina last weekend.
Flanker Ryan Jones and centre Ashley Beck are expected to be fit to face Samoa, while centre Jamie Roberts is still recovering from being concussed in the first half against the Pumas.
"For me, Jamie Roberts is vital because he is the defensive captain. Everyone is hoping he will be right for Friday night," Edwards said.
"If he is not, then someone has got to step up in his place and try to fill his boots, which are quite large boots to fill.
"But I am a big believer that rugby is a team game. If your forwards don't perform, your backs can't perform. I try not to make too much of individuals, more the team unit."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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