World class first five-eighth Dan Carter is doing all he can to overcome his Achilles tendon injury and be fit for the All Blacks' season-ending Test against England.
With an off-season looming following Saturday's (Sunday NZT) Test at Twickenham, Carter admits he is pushing himself harder than usual to be ready and is "pretty confident" of earning a 94th cap.
However, he's not getting carried away.
"If I'm not right to play then I won't. I want to put the team first and if I'm limping around just to get another cap I won't play, I'm going to be smart about it."
Carter, 30, was a standout performer in the tour-opening defeat of Scotland on November 11 but hasn't played since, having been rested from the Test against Italy and ruled out of last weekend's defeat of Wales after suffering the injury at training.
He ran smoothly in a gentle training session on Tuesday but without any real conviction.
"The plan was to get through training and it was pretty light today, I didn't go over 50 per cent. I got through it well."
Aaron Cruden started both games in the No.10 jersey and was particularly impressive against Wales before exiting in the 70th minute when he suffered some leg muscle tightening.
Cruden trained fully on Tuesday, along with prop Tony Woodcock and hooker Keven Mealamu - who have also been carrying niggles - suggesting coach Steve Hansen could yet field his strongest team at Twickenham.
Carter said the feeling in the squad was positive as they sought to end 2012 with a 13th win from 14 Tests.
"The success that we've had this year has been great. There's a lot of self-belief in this squad and that's shown in the way we play.
"We never look too far ahead and every time we pull on the All Black jersey it's a chance to add to the legacy."