'Special, special' Carter earns 100th cap at Twickenham
NEW ZEALAND head coach Steve Hansen has hailed Dan Carter as a "special, special" player as the fly-half prepares to join the All Blacks' 100-club when he lines up against England at Twickenham tomorrow.
The 31-year-old will become just the fifth New Zealander to reach a century of caps in the Test against England with the Crusaders man receiving plaudits from his international coach.
"It is massive," Hansen said of Carter's achievement.
"Any All Back to be able to sustain a career long enough to play 100 games is a special player but he is probably one of the special, special ones.
"He has been pretty frustrated over the last 18 months with injury but he seems to be on top of that at the moment and he is deserving of the honour."
Those injuries have haunted Carter and he has not played the full match in the last couple of internationals.
Hansen confirmed he will be in a position to leave Carter on for the entirety of the match at Twickenham as the visitors look the strike back following their surprise 38-21 loss in the corresponding fixture last year.
With Carter having already racked up 99 caps, Hansen was able to highlight a few of his personal highlights, including the players' international bow against a Wales team coached by Hansen.
"The very first he played was pretty sharp," said Hansen.
"I happened to be coaching the opposition, he scored 20 points. He had his first Test and played very, very well but probably his best game was the second Test against the Lions in 2005 – that stands out.
"I thought his game against France in the World Cup in 2011 was outstanding, it looked like he was going have a great impact on that tournament until he got injured."
Despite being set for his landmark cap, Carter is trying to treat the game as any other.
"At times you do think about the special occasion," he said.
"After the game I hope I can enjoy it and embrace it a bit more. I'm really working hard on not getting caught up in all the hype."
Lock Sam Whitelock will also pick up his 50th cap as Hansen has made just one change from the team that beat France 26-19 with Julian Savea returning after illness to replace Cory Jane.
There is also one change in the replacements with lock Luke Romano in for Sam Cane.
ENGLAND v NEW ZEALAND, Tomorrow (KO 2.30) Live Sky Sports 1