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Carter ready for Cooper challenge

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is set to line-up against the man many feel is set to take his crown as the best five-eighth in the world, Quade Cooper, in the Bledisloe Cup match against Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.

Carter and Cooper last met in the Super Rugby final, a match turned by Cooper's brilliance and which ensured the two Tests ahead of the World Cup would be keenly awaited as the two stars went at it again.

"Quade is a very free-flowing player and just plays off the cuff quite a lot and has all the skills to be able to get away with it and do it well, but I think what helps him is the guy inside him (Will Genia) because he reads the game so well," Carter said.

"He's got great vision and he picks his time well so he's the real mastermind of that Australian side and backline so he's a world-class player.

"It's important we cut down their time and space and also their opportunities which isn't easy but that's the kind of challenge we love."

Carter said that pointless kicks with Cooper hanging at the back of the Australian line were out of the question.

"You have to be clinical and accurate for 80 minutes because it could be in the last minute that you give them the opportunity and they'll make the most of it because they are extremely dangerous with the ball in hand," he said.

Given Cooper's lack of experience at fullback, there are options for the All Blacks to try. From a kicking perspective Carter thought it was all about mixing it up to keep the Aussies guessing whether there might be kicks to the corner, short kicks or even high changers.

While the All Blacks were happy with their efforts against South Africa in Wellington, the moment the final whistle went they were already turning their attentions towards Australia at Eden Park.

"We realised it was going to be a much tougher, and stronger, opposition with an Australian side that is playing well and a lot of players that are in form," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph