Dan Carter Says Future of NZ Rugby Bright
All Blacks great Dan Carter, 33, is unsure of his own plans once the time comes to hang up his boots but he is confident the game in New Zealand is in safe hands. Carter, spoke with the Guardian on the phone from Auckland, where he’s just put the finishing touches on his new book, Dan Carter: My Story.
As a goalkicker there’s never been anything particularly remarkable about the way Carter places the ball or approaches his run-up: no Goromaru-style prayer clasp, nothing like Dan Biggar’s faintly erotic pre-kick touch-and-shuffle. The defining moment of the final against the Wallabies – and the moment that completed Carter’s journey from eight-year-old Southbridge kicking enthusiast to double World Cup winner – captured this surgical, invisible quality to his kicking game better than anything.
The two kicking coaches he’s stayed closest to over the years – league legend Daryl Halligan and former AFL kicking star Mick Byrne – have stressed the same point, Carter adds. “They never tried to change my style,” he says. “Everyone has their own style, and they should keep that. Individuality is important.”
When Steve Hansen took over from Graham Henry as head coach of the All Blacks in 2012, he gave his players a very clear goal: to become the most dominant side in the history of world rugby. The inevitable, pedantic squabbles over the difficulty of comparing players and teams of different eras aside, few would disagree that the 2015 All Blacks team have a very strong claim to being the greatest of all time.
Originally from Southbridge, Canterbury, Carter, who will join Paris’s Racing Metro next year, is one of six All Blacks to call it quits after the final; between them these players boast 700 Test caps. Any other rugby nation would require years, perhaps two whole World Cup cycles, to regenerate after a loss of experience that substantial; but this is New Zealand, a near-perfect, near-continuous factory of high-grade rugby talent, and Carter is confident his successors will match, and possibly exceed, the glories of the last half-decade. “The future will always be bright in New Zealand rugby,” he says. “You know that the All Black environment, the All Black way of living is not going to fall over just because six guys left.”
Neither politics nor the media interest Carter, but business does – though he happily admits to having no precise post-rugby plans. “I love the commercial side of sport, so if there’s something I can do to help young players deal with that side of things, that would be great. But I’m not really sure.”
Original article by Aaron Timms, The Guardian, November 24, 2015.