Dan Carter saves day and shouts Southbridge

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 18/06/2012

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Danny Bhoy Carter shouted his mates after kicking an under-pressure dropped goal to beat Ireland – but it was his champion Southbridge clubmates who got to cheer the All Blacks' ace's largesse.

Carter learned before kickoff at AMI Stadium on Saturday night that Southbridge had won their first club title in 27 years.

"I got a text to say we tipped Lincoln up to win the Combined [Country competition] final," Carter said after the All Blacks' streaky 22-19 win.

"It's a great day for Southbridge rugby."

Southbridge team manager Chris McMillan said Carter put "a reasonably large tab on the bar" to shout the Southbridge side. McMillan would not "tell you the amount" but said between Carter and Southbridge's sponsors, "the boys didn't have to buy a drink all night".

"He told me during the week that he would do that but I kept that quiet until after the game," McMillan said. "He sent a text message congratulating the team and I read it out straight after the game. It means a lot to the boys to get that support from Dan."

It was the All Blacks who were toasting Carter after the 30-year-old needed all his experience and poise to nail his dropped goal seconds before the fulltime hooter.

"I don't think I've ever done that before" Carter admitted. "I was trying to work it out with backs coach Fossie [Ian Foster] about whether I had had a kick [a dropped goal] in the last few seconds to get a victory. I don't think I've ever done it in my career.

"It's pretty rewarding but it's more relief, to be honest, to get away with a victory."

Moments before Carter nailed the matchwinner, replacement halfback Piri Weepu served up a wobbly pass and the kick was charged down. According to one of rugby's more arcane rules the All Blacks were awarded a 5m scrum.

Carter didn't sound entirely convinced himself when he claimed the kick "felt good off the foot" and was heading for its target until an Irishman's flailing finger was "enough to knock it off line".

"We were quite lucky it got charged down and we got a scrum five.

"At crucial times, you've really got to get good ball to set up for the dropped goal.

"I guess that first one wasn't the best and we were pretty lucky to get that scrum five metres out in pretty much a perfect dropped goal position. We practise those scenarios and it was good to get an opportunity in the game and seal a win because of it."

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