Dan Carter's World Cup itch not yet satisfied
All Blacks great Dan Carter says he has unfinished "personal" business at the World Cup and is hell-bent on making next year's tournament in England.
Carter, in Kuala Lumpur for the prestigious Laureus Awards where the All Blacks were pipped by football giants Bayern Munich for the team of the year award, made it clear he was determined to play a fourth World Cup after being part of the 2003 and 2007 disasters and missed the business end of the 2011 success.
Carter has a winner's medal from 2011 but the pain of having his tournament cut short with a groin injury in the leadup to the final pool match against Canada clearly still burns deep.
"On a personal level it's pretty mixed emotions for me - the last World Cup," Carter said.
"Having been involved in three World Cups and had injuries, or parts of the World Cups that haven't gone so well for me personally . . . so I have achieved a lot in my career but the personal satisfaction of fulfilment of achieving what I want in a World Cup, I haven't had that," Carter said.
"It does add as motivation - 2015 is not far away now and I'm giving myself the best opportunity now to be a part of the All Blacks side playing at the World Cup."
Carter is on his second sabbatical and plans to return to action via club rugby and hopefully the last phase of the Crusaders' Super Rugby campaign.
He will miss June's three-test series against England and look to add to his 100 test caps for the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.
The sabbatical has given Carter an opportunity to rest his creaking body.
At the age of 32, injuries have started to bite.
Last year he played just six of 14 tests with a horror run of hand, calf, shoulder and Achilles injuries.
In his absence Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett have developed into genuine first-choice alternatives in the No 10 jersey for the All Blacks as the world's No 1 side develops depth in the key playmaking position.
Carter said the challenge for the All Blacks was to progress from last year's unbeaten run, the first perfect season by any international team in professional rugby.
"It was a very demanding year, 2013, so you always have to work out ways of staying ahead of the game," he said.
"There are a lot of international sides that are really improving and closing the gap."
He believed the World Cup motivation would keep the All Blacks in the right mindset.
"Obviously the World Cup is a big focus for us now, it's only a year and a half away now," Carter said.
"No team has won back-to-back World Cups -that's a goal for us and something we'd love to achieve. But there's a lot to hard work to go before we can achieve that."
Carter felt the improving England team would be a threat on home turf at next year's tournament.