Dan Carter ponders rare outing for Canterbury

RICHARD KNOWLER IN NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014
Dan Carter
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
NPC RETURN?: All Blacks maestro Dan Carter could come back from injury at provincial level for Canterbury.

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Dan Carter could yet wander into the eye of Canterbury's national provincial championship ''storm''.

Since suffering a fractured fibula during the Super Rugby final on August 2 Carter hasn't added to his 100 test caps and may be asked to make a rare appearance for Canterbury before returning to the All Blacks.

Coach Steve Hansen confirmed that Carter, who has been with the All Blacks in Napier this week, has begun jogging and his immediate playing future will soon be mapped out.

''It is just a matter of whether we bring him straight back in for test rugby or whether we bring him back for (NPC) and with a few games under his belt,'' Hansen said.

Initially it was hoped that Carter would only be sidelined for a month, but that deadline has blown-out.

Now the All Blacks hope he will be available to play Argentina in La Plata on September 27 and South Africa in Johannesburg a week later.

If he does make a rare appearance for Canterbury it could be in the middle of what his provincial coach Scott Robertson calls the ''storm''.

This is when Canterbury must play three games in quick succession and face Counties-Manukau, North Harbour and Southland from September 19-28.

If Colin Slade is also released by Hansen to play for Canterbury Robertson will be inundated by quality first-fives.

Tyler Bleyendaal and Tom Taylor, who should have recovered from a fractured eye socket later this month, and Richie Mo'unga are other No 10 options.

Hansen has also mooted the idea of Slade playing at second-five in the NPC at some point in his career.

The first priority is to see when Carter can take the field again.

''Once we get to a point where we have to make those decisions we will sit down with him and see how confident he is and then we will map out a strategy,'' Hansen added.

In the absence of Carter, 32, Aaron Cruden played the two Bledisloe Cup tests and Beauden Barrett will start against Argentina in Napier tomorrow night. Slade will be in the reserves.

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