Tim Nanai-Williams celebrates the Chiefs’ second try. Source: Photosport/Joseph Johnson/INPHO
TIME IS RUNNING out for DC10 to make an impact ahead of autumn’s World Cup and Dan Carter missed an opportunity to make a statement against some big All Black rivals today.
If Super Rugby was a dystopian competition where players were assigned numbers instead of names, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick Carter out of a line-up based on this season’s performances.
At his age, he is naturally no longer as sharp in the loose but surprisingly his kicking, both from the tee and out of hand, has been inconsistent in this campaign too.
He was selected at 12 for the Crusaders’ derby game with the Chiefs in Christchurch and he couldn’t stop Sonny Bill’s boys easing to a 26-9 away win.
Given that Carter was playing against Aaron Cruden, one of his competitors along with Beauden Barrett in the New Zealand number ten triple threat match, it would have been a good time for the veteran to rediscover his best form.
Unfortunately for Carter, it never really materialised because after missing an early kick, the visitors took control. An uncharacteristic Richie McCaw fumble was punished with a five-pointer by Chiefs number eight Michael Leitch and then right on half time, wing Tim Nanai-Williams ruthlessly exploited a turnover with his searing pace to extend the lead.
Despite multiple All Blacks on show – incumbent second rows Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick went head-to-head – it was actually Nanai-Williams, who has declared for Samoa rather than fight for an All Blacks place, who dominated.
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He capped off his prolific night with this gorgeous offload back inside for replacement Liam Squire to cap the scoring.
After being so unlucky to miss out on the 2011 triumph, it would be great for Carter to play his way back into the New Zealand team but with Cruden and Barrett looking so potent, the maestro will need to step up his game in the second half of the season if he wants to nail down a starting place at the World Cup.
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