THE disappointment of last month’s draw against Australia drove Dan Carter to a majestic performance against Scotland in Edinburgh, according to All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
Carter was peerless in New Zealand’s 51-22 win, scoring 21 points with the boot and toying with the Scottish defence through his range of running, passing and kicking skills.
It was a far cry from the final scene at his previous outing in Brisbane on October 20, when Carter’s dropped goal attempt from straight in front of the posts sailed wide, leaving the All Blacks locked 18-18 with the Wallabies.
McCaw said Carter – who hasn’t scored a try for 16 Tests – underlined why he remains such a crucial part of the All Blacks’ attacking arsenal.
“He’s pretty happy in the shed. I think he was pretty disappointed the last time we were out but he had a hell of a good game,” McCaw told reporters.
“He’s got a good knack of realising when it’s on. That fend when he has a wee bit of space is pretty deadly. It’s great to see him playing like that.”
Carter, 30, extended his all time Test record points haul to 1381.
He and halfback Piri Weepu also became the most capped halves pair to play an All Blacks Test together. Their 160 combined caps surpasses the 147 that long-serving partnership Justin Marshall and Andrew Mehrtens took onto the field against the Springboks at Johannesburg in 2004.
A typically modest Carter said he and a fitter-looking Weepu could control play behind a clinical All Blacks forward effort at Murrayfield.
“We wanted to get this tour off to a good start and we were up against a Scotland side full of energy and intensity and they really took it to us, so I’m really pleased to get off on the right foot,” he told BBC.
“It was pleasing for us to score a few tries but there are still a few areas to work on.”