Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dan Carter has new respect for benchwarmers RICHARD KNOWLER 30/03/2012

Warming the bench is a gig Dan Carter has little affinity with.
When listed among the reserves for last weekend's match against the Cheetahs, Carter discovered a new-found respect for those men regularly named in the reserves and who never know when, or if, they are going to play.
The sight of All Blacks first five-eighth Carter in the reserves has been a rare one since he nailed down regular starting spots at the Crusaders a decade ago.
He says he had forgotten how difficult the job was and is in no hurry to repeat the exercise.
"After coming off the bench last week I have huge respect for people that spend a bit of time there because it is quite different in terms of your focus and work throughout the week. You don't get as much time among the squad when you are training and you never know when you are going to get on."
Given the option between starting and being listed in the No21 jersey for the Lions match in Johannesburg on Sunday morning, Carter said it was simple.
"For me, I prefer to start. It is a role I am more used to and feel a lot more comfortable in terms of planning my week.
"It was good to be on that side [the reserves] for a while but I prefer to start and we will manage my game time from there."
Tom Taylor, who slotted three penalties and two conversions in the 28-21 win against the Cheetahs last weekend and has been listed at second-five, will again do the goalkicking.
The trip to South Africa had reduced Carter's chances to build on his goalkicking programme which has been tailored not to place too much pressure on the groin he ruptured last October.
"With the travel, it put me back a bit because I was unable to kick in the early part of the week. I will keep chipping away there and it is getting better each time but still restricts me a little bit."
There is no certainty Carter will take the kicks against the Bulls next weekend either.
It also seems unlikely he will last the full 80 minutes against the Lions and if replaced, Taylor will shift to first-five and Ryan Crotty come on as a substitute at second-five.
"I was definitely pretty tired after just 40 minutes last week so 80 might be a stretch," Carter admitted.
"Once you get out there you communicate with the coaches and see how you are feeling. I will definitely target the first half and re-assess at halftime to see how I am going."

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