Carter to take centre stage?
Carter to take centre stage?SHARE
Dan Carter could slot into the midfield when he returns for the Crusaders’ clash with the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.
The All Black flyhalf missed the two-game tour of South Africa due to the birth of his first child and his experience and accurate goal-kicking was missed in the Crusaders' 17-21 loss to the Sharks last Friday.
Young Tyler Bleyendaal stood in for Carter on tour and delivered a man of the match performance in the victory over Stormers at Newlands.
He struggled with his goal-kicking in Durban, but coach Todd Blackadder has hinted that he would stick with Bleyendaal at No.10.
"There's a good possibility he [Carter] could start, but if there's any injuries and niggles we could contemplate a shift," Blackadder said of Carter's possible switch to inside centre.
"We'll have to look at the overall fitness of the squad, it's too early to say just yet but DC will be fresh and keen to play. With his calibre – and he is playing so well – we will definitely look to use him.
"Tyler played really well. He really stood up and got us around the field. Obviously he will be disappointed with his goal-kicking because we couldn't turn that pressure into points,"
Stand-in captain George Whitelock rued the team’s indiscipline and said it’s an area they will need to address swiftly.
"We were our own worst enemy; we made mistakes in our own half and the Sharks pounced on them with three points," he said.
"Once we got those [early] points we let them off the hook with bad discipline and Patrick Lambie didn't miss a beat all night. He just kept the scoreboard ticking over.
"Our scrum in the second half was disappointing; at crucial times we got penalised.
"We were really disappointed that we were in that game and we really felt that we let ourselves down by not playing in that second half."
The defeat sees the Crusaders sitting eighth on the overall log and a lowly fourth in the New Zealand Conference and Blackadder admitted the slow start has put them in an ominous position.
"It's going to come down to the wire. There will be twists and turns – there's still a long way to go. But it shows you have to be up for Super Rugby week-in and week-out and really nail those opportunities or you rue them down the track," said Blackadder.