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Wednesday 22 October 2014

Carter: No risky business

DAN CARTER has ruled out gambling on his fitness for Saturday's showdown between New Zealand and England.

Carter missed last weekend's 33-10 rout of Wales in Cardiff because of an Achilles/calf injury, but is confident he will feature among the XV named at tomorrow's team announcement.

Twickenham is the climax to the All Blacks' tour and even though Carter's season is about to end, he will not take any risks.

"I want to play and there's a break after this but I'm not going to do anything silly. If I'm not right to play then I won't," he said.

"I want to put the team first and if I'm limping around to just get another cap and not benefiting the team, then I won't play. I'll be smart."

Carter's ongoing brilliance continues to ensure his status as the sport's finest fly-half - and probably its greatest player - is unchallenged.

The 30-year-old old will win his 94th cap if he plays on Saturday, but injury is beginning to interrupt his career.

Once the final whistle sounds at Twickenham, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw begins a six-month sabbatical designed to increase his longevity in the game and Carter may follow suit in the future.

"The injuries are causing frustration more than concern. Believe it or not my body feels in pretty good nick," Carter said.

"They're just little niggling injuries, little tears or tightness. I'm getting on a bit now!

"Because I've had a few significant injuries - an Achilles rupture and groin - sometimes you over-compensate.

"Most of my niggling injuries have been on my right side, whereas the major ones are on my left.

"For me a sabbatical is more for the mental side of things, your well-being, that's what I'd use it for.

Desire

"I've got an off-season and then a pre-season coming up after this weekend so there's plenty of time to get my body into shape for another season.

"The sabbatical is in my contract but I haven't thought too far beyond this year. The drive, hunger and desire to play my best each week are still there."

Meanwhile, Andy Farrell insists England are in "a great place" as they crank up their preparations to face the world champions on the back of two defeats.

Farrell might have had to lift a few players after Saturday's 16-15 loss to South Africa, but the review of the game did that for him.

England felt as if they were the better team against the Springboks and that a repeat performance will put them in a position to end the All Blacks' 20-match unbeaten run.

"I have said absolutely nothing (to lift the players)," Farrell said. "They are in a great place.

"They have played against two very good teams and the reality of the South Africa game was that we were the best team.

"You cannot be in a good place when you review the game in its entirety."

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