Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Tyrone Howe: All Blacks Carter blow a huge boost for other teams

Well, the unthinkable has happened – no Dan Carter for the All Blacks.

In all senses, he is a rugby superstar. More importantly for Graham Henry, he is (or was) the heartbeat and cerebrum of All Black rugby. The fissures of mental fragility are palpable.

You could barely have scripted such a story. The only way it could be worse is if Richie McCaw was to suffer a similar fate. The All Blacks would be staring into an abyss.

For every other team left in the competition it is the biggest confidence boost you could possibly imagine. Beating New Zealand on home soil? Suddenly the impossible seems very possible. Why? Because the All Blacks thrive and benefit from the mental advantage of being, well, the All Blacks.

Take that mental edge away and what have the All Blacks got? Incredibly skilful rugby talent, yes, but without the puppeteer to pull the strings, where does that leave you?

It may be expedient, but I would be straight on the phone to Conor O’Shea. The Harlequins Director of Rugby possesses the best flyhalf in world rugby not playing at the World Cup – All Black, Nick Evans.

Immensely talented, match fit and on form, he would be my GTP, my ‘go-to player’. Stuff All Black policy, desperate times require desperate measures, and it will be fascinating to see how they manage the situation going forward.

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