Carter happy to be back
New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is delighted to be back doing what he does best - helping his country win Test matches.
The 30-year-old saw his World Cup dream cut short by a groin injury last year and subsequently spent five months away from the game as he recovered, while his team-mates lifted the trophy on home soil. Carter was back on duty as the All Blacks crushed Ireland 42-10 in the first Test of three in Auckland last weekend, kicking four penalties and three conversions.
Speaking of his return to the top level, he said: "In the last three weeks the body has felt really good and back to full fitness, which is pleasing. In the back of my mind this is where I always wanted to be; playing for the All Blacks and putting that black jersey on."
The continual practising penalty kicks contributed to Carter's groin injury but he is adamant he never considered returning to the side as an out-half without kicking duties.
"It is what I do and love," said Carter, who will again line-up against the Irish in the second in Christchurch on Saturday.
"Playing in the number 10 jersey and kicking goals. I've been pain free for the past few games. It is a big part of my game so it is great to have that ability back."
New Zealand are already planning for the retention of the World Cup they won last October, as highlighted by the debuts of Aaron Smith, Brodie Retalick and Julian Savea, who scored a hat-trick on his All Blacks bow.
As for Carter, he refuses to engage in a guessing game about whether or not he will be around for another shot at the Webb-Ellis trophy.
"If I had a crystal ball I'd love to look in it and be there," he said. "I guess with the joy and also the disappointment I had last season - of winning the World Cup but, obviously, not being out there playing in the later stages - I was just really keen to start this season fresh and make the most out of 2012.
"The World Cup was a great occasion but we have to move on from that."