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All Blacks wait on Carter

Dan Carter has handed world champions New Zealand a major fitness scare ahead of Saturday's clash against Wales.

The fly-half superstar pulled up in training on Thursday with a leg twinge. A decision on his fitness is expected to be made later on Friday when the All Blacks conduct their final pre-match training run at the Millennium Stadium.

If 93 time-capped Carter is ruled out, then Aaron Cruden would be favourite to replace him, with versatile half-back Piri Weepu possibly providing bench cover.

Carter has scored 162 points in nine appearances against Wales, while the All Blacks, who are unbeaten in 19 Tests, conclude their autumn tour against England at Twickenham on Saturday week.

Injury cut short his World Cup campaign last year, but the All Blacks still lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy after they lost Carter during the competition's pool stages.

New Zealand will extend their unbeaten record to 20 Test matches if they beat Wales. But wing Cory Jane has underlined how the World Cup and Rugby Championship title holders are constantly striving for improvement.

"We talk about it every week, how to enhance the legacy," said Jane, who lines up in an All Blacks team led by Richie McCaw this weekend that contains an incredible total of 745 caps.

"We've got to go out on that field and perform, get better as individuals and as a team.

"I think we are working really hard at that. People talk about a World Cup hangover this year, but we are proud to play for the All Blacks, and every time we go out on the field we don't want to play badly."

Australia were the last team to topple New Zealand 15 months ago, while Wales have not managed it since December 1953, losing 24 successive Tests, including 13 in Cardiff.


From Belfast Telegraph