Is Carter on the outer?
There is no doubt Dan Carter is one of the most celebrated players, but it appears he is no longer guaranteed a starting place in the All Black team.
There is no doubt Dan Carter is one of the most celebrated players in the game, but it appears he is no longer guaranteed a starting place in the All Black team.
According to New Zealand media reports there will be no room for sentiment when All Black coach Steve Hansen selects his team to play England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Star flyhalf Daniel Carter is set to become just the fifth All Black to play 100 Tests, but according to a OneNews report there is no guarantee he will be in the starting XV.
Carter did little wrong in his 50 minute stint in the 26-19 win over France in Paris at the weekend, but his early substitution could indicate that Aaron Cruden is closing in.
"It's not about sentimentality it's about picking the right team to play England," Hansen said, when asked about Carter's impending milestone.
"Whether or not he's played a 100 [Tests] or 500 or zero, if he's the right person we'll pick him," the coach added.
The real priority for the All Blacks remains beating an English side that thrashed the world champions 38-21 in the corresponding Test last year.
Not only did England's win shock the rugby world but it also prevented the All Blacks from securing their first unbeaten season since 1997.
Eleven of the fifteen who started against France had not played for three weeks: a deliberate change from the run-up to the 2012 end of year tour and part of a long range plan to put that defeat to England firmly in the past.
Cruden replaced Carter with 15 minutes to go last year and had little impact as England secured their biggest ever Test win over the All Blacks.
"The Poms are like you said the team that we love to beat and everyone's going to remind us this week about the result last year so we've just got to make sure we keep our feet grounded," Cruden said.
England are the only team to blemish Hansen's record as All Blacks coach. His current record stands at an impressive 22 wins, one draw, and one loss.
The perfect season is still very much a possibility but the number one aim is redemption for last year's hiccup.
"It still hurts.. we don't like losing," Hansen said.