x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Carter focused on adding the one thing missing to his CV

New Zealand's Daniel Carter is the most prolific scorer in rugby Test history, but that means little to him at the moment, as the one thing missing on his CV is a World Cup title.

Dan Carter is hoping to put his injury heartbreak of 2007 behind him and fill the one hole on his CV - Rugby World Cup champion.
Dan Carter is hoping to put his injury heartbreak of 2007 behind him and fill the one hole on his CV - Rugby World Cup champion.

More than any of the 600 players at the Rugby World Cup, Daniel Carter may hold the tournament's outcome in his hands ... and feet.

Among the fly-halves who have won in the six previous World Cups, perhaps only Jonny Wilkinson - the man who kicked England to the 2003 title - has been as individually influential.

The pantheon Carter hopes to join this year, after being part of All Blacks teams beaten at two previous World Cups, comprises Wilkinson, New Zealand's Grant Fox, Australia's Michael Lynagh and Stephen Larkham, and South Africa's Joel Stransky and Butch James.

His inability to join that company in 2007, when New Zealand were beaten by France in a quarter-final in which he was injured, has been, more than anything else, the force that has brought him back to try again. Now 29, he faces what is likely his last chance.

Carter could have left at any time in the last four years to take up substantial contracts overseas, but he has remained in New Zealand, as has Richie McCaw, the captain, to vie for the one prize that has eluded them. His career stretches to 83 Tests in which he has scored 1,229 points, surpassing Wilkinson to become the most prolific scorer in Test history. But Carter's credentials do not include a World Cup title, and that is an omission he hopes to repair over the next two months.

"I've won the Bledisloe every single year that I've played, and won a lot of Tri Nations and Grand Slams as well," Carter said, "but the World Cup is something that I haven't achieved. A big part of staying and playing my rugby in New Zealand has been to win this."

Carter is now reconciled to the pressure of the World Cup.

"There is always going to be that extra expectation and pressure with it being in New Zealand, so I have just concentrated on what lies immediately ahead of me, and it has kind of taken my focus away from this tournament. I know that once we get involved it is going to be so huge, so I don't think there has been any sense in thinking about it too early."