Carter to return for Crusaders?

Date published: March 10 2015

The Crusaders' first-choice fly-half Dan Carter is set to return to action against the Lions in Christchurch this weekend.

Carter has been sidelined with a leg injury sustained in the Crusaders' season-opener against the Rebels but has recovered fully and was a lively participant at a Crusaders training session on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old ran at full pace and was capable of changing angles without any discomfort which was evident during previous weeks.

If Carter returns to the Crusaders' starting XV it could be at fly-half or inside centre. If he starts in the number 10 jersey then Colin Slade – who was at pivot in the Crusaders' Round Three match against the Chiefs – could move to fullback.

If Slade starts at fyl-half then Carter is set to wear the number 12 jersey with Ryan Crotty switching to outside centre.

Although the Crusaders' first-choice full-back Israel Dagg is still out with a quadricep injury, the Christchurch-based outfit's coach Todd Blackadder will also have the option of recalling number eight Kieran Read, wing Nemani Nadolo, lock Sam Whitelock and prop Owen Franks to his starting line-up.

"We will have a really good look at it," Blackadder told Fairfax Media.

"With those guys that have been out, it is probably easier for them to start.

"There is a lot of pressure on those guys, too. They haven't played a lot of rugby lately and they have got to come into a team that is under pressure.

"What we need is the whole team to collectively perform a whole lot better than it has done in the previous game."