Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dan Carter confirmed to goal kick for Crusaders RICHARD KNOWLER 05/04/2012

Tom Taylor has been dropped and Ryan Crotty has been ushered back in the only change to the Crusaders for their crunch game against the Bulls in Pretoria on Sunday morning.
Taylor has been relegated to the bench because Dan Carter is now fit to take the kicks at goal and Crotty has recovered from his leg muscle strain.
It will be the first five-eighth's first outing with kicking boots on since he suffered a serious groin injury at last year's World Cup, but that is not the only area in which Carter is expected to take more responsibility.
If the Crusaders are to sock it to the Bulls in Pretoria, Carter will be required to build on the form displayed in two Super appearances this season.
Carter's output so far has been modest by his standards and he readily acknowledges he is still building his confidence after a six-month layoff.
Although there have been flashes of his genius – pinpoint passes resulted in tries to Robbie Fruean and Zac Guildford against the Cheetahs and Lions – it is obvious Carter has been chugging along with the throttle half open.
Coach Todd Blackadder said now was the time when he would like to see his ace playmaker lift a gear.
That will include running the ball with aggression, using the power around his hips to slip tacklers and create full or half-breaks.
No-one expects Carter to be at his best so soon in the season but a lift in tempo would undoubtedly enhance the Crusaders' chances of collecting their first win at Loftus Versfeld since 2008.
"We have seen through his actions this week that he is ready. I think last week it was a bit like having a toe in the water," Blackadder said.
"Everyone expects big things from him but he is just normal, he just needed time in the saddle and to get a feel for things again. He probably got a good pass mark, but he is looking sharp this week."
During a goal-kicking session with team physiotherapist John Roche this week, Carter looked confident.
He was striking the ball well at altitude and appeared to be in no discomfort.
Blackadder has made just one change to his starting lineup to the side that spluttered their way to a 23-13 win over the Lions in Johannesburg.
Taylor drops to the bench and if Carter fails to last the full 80 minutes he will be inserted into first five.
Carter has gradually increased his kicking workload since returning to work on March 1, and has targeted Sunday's Bulls match as his first outing with the kicking tee.
"That was always the plan," Blackadder said. "For the last month we have talked about this."
Crotty was dropped last week because Taylor was required to kick goals.
His return should add a more direct runner in the midfield and he will be expected to take some of the heat off Carter.
"Tom was doing a good job but he has still got a little bit to go," Blackadder said.
"Ryan provides good leadership, is highly experienced and just gives us that punch. For these big games you need all the experience you can get out there."
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg, Sean Maitland, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (captain), Matt Todd, George Whitelock, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Ben Franks, Tom Donnelly, Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Tom Marshall.

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