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Carter cleared to face France

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has been declared fully fit for Saturday's crucial World Cup clash with France at Eden Park.

Carter withdrew from the 83-7 thumping victory over Japan with a back complaint and assistant coach Wayne Smith stated on Tuesday that he was still not operating at 100%.

But forwards coach Steve Hansen has revealed Carter is set to start the pivotal Pool A encounter, saying: "Yes, Dan's 100% fit and ready to go. It's great for the tournament, great for him and great for us. He's a great player and you want your great players, in all the sides, to be available to play."

France have been criticised for selecting what has been described as a largely second-string line-up against the All Blacks, with Morgan Parra starting his first Test at fly-half.

Victory would send Les Bleus into the tougher half of the quarter-final draw where Australia and South Africa are almost certain to lie in wait.

Defeat would confront them with likely knockout matches against any two of England, Ireland and Wales blocking their route to the final.

France coach Marc Lievremont has been accused of picking a team to lose, but Hansen insists it remains a strong XV.

"It's a really good side and Lievremont has picked what he thinks is the best team for this game," he said.

"We'll treat them with the utmost respect, as we always do. We're just preparing as if it's the best French team that they could pick."


From Belfast Telegraph