Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Dan Carter returns for Crusaders

AFP , BRISBANE

All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter will be back for defending champions Canterbury Crusaders against the Perth-based Western Force in their Super 14 rugby match in Christchurch tomorrow.

Carter, considered by many pundits as the best player in world rugby, was missing with a neck injury as the Crusaders scraped a 34-33 win over the New South Wales Waratahs last Saturday.

While the Crusaders scored six tries to four and dominated the Waratahs, poor goalkicking from flyhalf Stephen Brett almost cost them the match.

But with the accomplished Carter back in the number 10 jersey, goalkicking will be the least of their concerns.

The Crusaders' main worry is the loss of All Black lock Chris Jack with a knee injury.

Jack's loss will hamper Canterbury's line-out against a Force outfit featuring Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe and the former Queenslander Rudi Vedelago.

Crusaders coach Robbie Deans has brought winger Caleb Ralph in at the expense of Scott Hamilton, while scrumhalf Andy Ellis replaces Kevin Senio and Michael Paterson replaces the injured Jack.

"While we've had to make a few changes, we've still been able to enjoy a fair bit of continuity, with all but Dan Carter having been involved in the match day 22 last week," Deans said.

Deans said he was not worried about Carter's readiness for the top-four match.

"He was involved in most of the preparation for that [Waratahs] match anyway, until we had to pull him out through injury," Deans said.

The Force have shown good form away from home this season, winning both their South African games and drawing with the Waratahs in Sydney.

They are coming off a good 22-12 win against the Natal-based Coastal Sharks last weekend.

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