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Dublin: -1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Reasons to be fearful: Dan the Man returns for Canterbury Crusaders

New Zealand see our Brian O’Driscoll and raise us a Dan Carter.

Dan Carter will be back in black when Jamie Heaslip and Ireland arrive in New Zealand this summer.
Dan Carter will be back in black when Jamie Heaslip and Ireland arrive in New Zealand this summer.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE SIGHT OF Brian O’Driscoll returning against Ospreys last Friday gave Irish rugby fans reason, albeit slight, to hope that we can challenge New Zealand on their own turf.

However the world champion All Blacks will welcome Dan Carter back into the fold when they host Ireland for three Test matches this June.

Carter, who injured knee ligaments during last year’s World Cup tournament, has returned for his Super 15 side, Canterbury Crusaders, and has immediately hit his stride.

The fly-half came off the bench for Crusaders in Christchurch at the weekend and delivered a perfect delayed pass to send teammate Robbie Fruean in for a try. The pass was the 30-year-old’s first touch of the ball.

Carter sustained the knee injury, which laid him low for five months, when practising his place kicks. He ceded the kicking duties to his understudy Tom Taylor.

Crusaders’ assistant coach Dave Hewitt says Carter will be assessed, and personally consulted, midweek before a decision is made on whether he starts against the Buls in South Africa next weekend. He said:

“DC is one of those guys who will take the advice of the medical staff and it [the groin injury] is one of those things that has to be looked after and requires him to be introduced back bit by bit. It is also about getting him up to speed with the game and not throwing him in at the deep end.”

Carter made his debut with the All Blacks i 2003 and, to date, has scored 1,250 international points — four points more than his long-time rival, Jonny Wilkinson.

Meanwhile, Colin Slade, who filled in for Carter at the World Cup before getting injured, has suffered a broken leg and is out for the remainder of the Super Rugby season.

Ireland travel to New Zealand in early June and will play Tests in Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland.

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