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Hansen hails centurion Carter

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has hailed Dan Carter as a "special, special" player as the fly-half prepares to join the All Blacks' 100-club when he lines up against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 31-year-old will become just the fifth New Zealander to reach a century of caps in the Test against England with the Crusaders man receiving plaudits from his international coach.

"It is massive," Hansen said of Carter's achievement.

"Any All Back to be able to sustain a career long enough to play 100 games is a special player but he is probably one of the special, special ones.

"He has been pretty frustrated over the last 18 months with injury but he seems to be on top of that at the moment and he is deserving of the honour."

Those injuries have haunted Carter and he has not played the full match in the last couple of internationals.

Hansen confirmed he will be in a position to leave Carter on for the entirety of the match at Twickenham as the visitors look the strike back following their surprise 38-21 loss in the corresponding fixture last year.

With Carter having already racked up 99 caps, Hansen was able to highlight a few of his personal highlights, including the players' international bow against a Wales team coached by Hansen.

"The very first he played was pretty sharp," said Hansen.

"I happened to be coaching the opposition, he scored 20 points. He had his first Test and played very, very well but probably his best game was the second Test against the Lions in 2005 - that stands out.

"I thought his game against France in the World Cup in 2011 was outstanding, it looked like he was going have a great impact on that tournament until he got injured."

Despite being set for his landmark cap, Carter has not been made available to be interviewed by the British media but admitted to the New Zealand press that he is trying to treat the game as any other.

"At times you do think about the special occasion," he told

"But I'm just trying to put it all to the side and concentrate on what I have to do for the team and keep the usual structures in place going in to a Test match.

"After the game I hope I can enjoy it and embrace it a bit more. I'm really working hard on not getting caught up in all the hype."

Carter brings up his century in a game which will be carrying extra significance following last year's defeat but Hansen insists there is no thought of revenge for the world's number one team.

"There are a lot of people who have banded the word 'revenge' around but it is one of the silliest words you can use in rugby," he said.

"It is too strong a word, revenge is quite a hateful word. What it is in an opportunity to see if we have improved, to see if we are good enough to beat England.

"We weren't last year, they were first, daylight was second and we were third - I would rather see this as an opportunity rather than the word revenge.

"What we are trying to do is strive to be better than we are, which is number one.

"If you don't look to improve yourself you are going to go backwards so, for us, our whole aim as a group of players, coaches and management is to be better than we were the week before.

"We are looking for perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect performance but that is what we strive to do."

Lock Sam Whitelock will also pick up his 50th cap as Hansen has made just one change from the team that beat France 26-19 with Julian Savea returning after illness to replace Cory Jane.

There is also one change in the replacements with lock Luke Romano in for Sam Cane.


From Belfast Telegraph