Dan Carter's 100th cap: We pick out five of the fly-half's best performances for New Zealand
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 25/11/13 4:54pm
Dan Carter made his debut at inside centre against Wales as a 21-year-old
Dan Carter will become the 26th player to win 100 Test caps when New Zealand take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Carter joins his countrymen Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Mils Muliaina in the exclusive club - all of whom he has played with during his decade-long international career.
Ahead of his milestone moment, we look back on five of Carter's best performances for the All Blacks.
New Zealand 55-3 Wales, Hamilton, June 2003
This was as good as Test debuts come and gave an early indication that the 21-year-old Carter's range of skills would all translate easily to international level. His first 11 Test starts were in the centres and, on this occasion, he was tucked in between Carlos Spencer and Tana Umaga - not a bad place for a rookie. It was not much of a contest as the All Blacks ran in eight tries, including one for Carter, who also landed six of eight conversions and a penalty for a total of 20 points. Start as you mean to go on...
New Zealand 48-18 British and Irish Lions, Wellington, July 2005
Carter scored 33 points against the Lions in Wellington
This will go down as Carter's masterpiece; a complete performance in a series-clinching victory from a player coming to the peak of his powers. Carter finished with 33 points, consisting of two tries, four conversions and five penalties. Those stats don't really do full justice, he ran the show from first minute to last against an experienced Lions side who were - despite the scoreline - much improved from their woeful showing in the first Test. This match can also be highlighted as the moment when Jonny Wilkinson - who kicked eight points for the tourists - was beyond doubt superseded as the best fly-half in the world.
England 20-41 New Zealand, Twickenham, November 2006
Beating the world champions on their own patch was exactly what Carter and the All Blacks achieved for the second year in a row when they visited Twickenham in 2006. England were by now a team in transition with Ben Cohen and Ben Kay the only starters on duty in both the World Cup final win of 2003 and this game. Carter enjoyed himself, scoring one of New Zealand's four tries and kicking 21 points. The visitors led 28-5 at half-time during an entertaining and open game and the ball continued to be thrown around after the break, England playing their part with three tries.
New Zealand 26-12 Australia, Auckland, July 2007
A hectic schedule of six Tests in seven weeks for Carter culminated with him sticking the boot into Australia to earn New Zealand the Tri-Nations title for the third year in a row. Two things stand out about this display; Carter's reliable place kicking under pressure and both his - and the All Blacks' - physical resilience. This was not a classic match but a wet night at Eden Park called for control and Carter provided it. He also kicked seven penalties to go with Woodcock's try (his lone blemish was a missed conversion) and that, in the end, was more than enough.
South Africa 16-32 New Zealand, Johannesburg, October 2012
Carter proved he was back to his best after injury problems in South Africa in 2012
Carter missed out on the latter stages of New Zealand's World Cup triumph in 2011 due to a groin injury but any doubts that he remained the game's premier stand-off were erased with this display. This was Carter at his most tactically astute, adapting his game with age, and the result was a four-try rout that sealed a clean sweep for the All Blacks in the creatively-titled Rugby Championship. He finished with three conversions, a penalty and a drop goal while both members of his midfield - Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith went over for second-half tries.
And one to forget...
New Zealand 18-20 France, October 2007
Between their World Cup wins in 1987 and 2011, New Zealand developed the reputation for being 'chokers' at the quadrennial tournament. The quarter-final defeat to France in Cardiff in 2007 was stunning because it was so unexpected. Carter played his part - including a well-timed pass to send Luke McAlister over for the opening try - as New Zealand dominated the first-half and built a 13-3 lead. But it all went horribly wrong after the break and, worst of all for Carter, he had to sit and watch his team implode from the sidelines as a calf injury forced him off in the 53rd minute, just after France had levelled at 13-13.