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Carter is "world-class" - Hansen

05th September 2013 06:40

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Dan Carter

Challenged: Dan Carter

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has praised fly-half Dan Carter following the Crusaders fly-half's return to the starting XV.

Carter was ruled out of the opening two matches of The Rugby Championship due to injury.

Despite a high number of impressive talents competing for the All Blacks number ten jersey, including Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Tom Taylor, Hansen believes Carter is still the best of the crop.

Carter's only performance so far in 2013 for New Zealand was a disappointing outing against France, with Hansen backing the all-time leading Test points scorer to rediscover his touch.

"He just needs a decent run of games. He's a world-class player," said Hansen.

"You saw that in the Super competition. When he got some games going, he started putting some performances in.

"It's interesting isn't it? We've gone from probably having the best first five-eighths in the history of the game, but certainly the best first five-eighths in world rugby to probably the second best first five-eighths as well.

"'Crudes' has really developed and taken the bull by the horns. Beauden is developing nicely and Tom Taylor's performance the other day was nothing short of miraculous coming in as your fourth five-eighths with the confidence.

"That creates a little bit of depth, but it also creates some pressure and it will interesting how Dan takes that. You don't want him looking over his shoulder; you want him looking forward and trying to improve his own game rather than being pressured. And I'm sure he will, he's had a few challenges in his time."

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