Injured All Black Daniel Carter during during the captain's
run at Millennium Stadium. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty
Daniel Carter will not play against Wales after damaging
the base of his right calf at training on Thursday and is rated
about a 50-50 chance of being fit in time to face England at
Aaron Cruden comes into the starting team to replace Carter
and Beauden Barrett, having passed a fitness test on his
damaged ribs, will be on the bench at the Millennium Stadium
for the clash that kicks off at 6.15am New Zealand time,
"On Thursday he felt his Achilles so we got him scanned,"
said All Black coach Steve Hansen. "He had an ultrasound and
an MRI this morning and there is a bit of swelling there
[base of his calf].
"He looks like he is a 50-50 chance [of playing the final
tour game] so we will just see what happens."
Carter's withdrawal, while far from ideal, is not quite the
panic-inducing event it used to be. And nor, sadly, is it as
rare as it used to be. The All Blacks will be hoping to
extend their unbeaten run to 20 tests on Sunday, which will
be an amazing feat if they do. More amazing possibly is the
fact that they will have won half without Carter: the Welsh
test will be the 10th he hasn't been played in the run.
Just as importantly, the All Blacks have experience now of
having to reorganise themselves after a late change in the No
"We have been here and don that, not long ago in Hamilton I
think it was against Ireland," says Hansen. "And that didn't
turn out too bad so hopefully it is a sign of things to come.
"He is disappointed obviously. The form he is in, when you
play as well as he did against Scotland and he didn't
participate against Italy, he was really looking forward to
playing. This is one of the stadiums that these guys love
playing in and an opposition we like playing."
All Black captain Richie McCaw felt much the same way as
Hansen about the loss of Carter. "It has happened a couple of
times now and it is something you can't control," he said.
"The other fellas that are going to fill in, Aaron for
starters, has played a few tests now and some pretty big
matches so we have huge confidence in him. It is pretty
disappointing for Dan but the next guy will come in and do