Dan Carter out of South Africa test
Sun, 09 Sep 2012 12:27p.m.
Aaron Cruden will get a shot at redemption after All Blacks first five-eighth Dan Carter was ruled out of their next Rugby Championship Test against South Africa.
Carter's strained calf muscle saw him miss the 21-5 defeat of Argentina in Wellington on Saturday and coach Steve Hansen said the world class No.10 wouldn't be risked over the next week.
The 30-year-old will be fully rested and is expected to be fit for the following Test, against the Pumas in La Plata on September 29.
It means Cruden will face the Springboks in Dunedin on Saturday and seek to atone for a mixed outing against Argentina.
A typically blunt Hansen agreed the 23-year-old was capable of better.
"He started off pretty average," Hansen told journalists on Sunday.
"The pleasing thing was that he grew and grew into the game.
"He's a young five-eighth and it was really testing conditions for him and (halfback) Aaron Smith so both of them will get a lot out of that Test."
Cruden landed three penalties before setting up and converting wing Cory Jane's late try.
He agreed with Hansen that he played better as the match wore on but rued some poor decisions and execution in the first half which mirrored New Zealand's team display.
"It was a real opportunity for me to get a bit of time in the saddle and I think I didn't really do that with both arms."
Hansen hinted Smith's No.9 jersey could come under threat from Piri Weepu, who was a steadying figure as New Zealand clamped control over the final quarter.
The lively Smith failed to clear cleanly at times and Hansen said he needed to develop a dive pass.
"If you think back to Super Rugby, he got caught a few times in similar situations and it's something he has to add to his game," Hansen said.
"Nines and 10s are the main computers of the team. They run the side and move them round the field the way you want them moved around.
"The pleasing thing was that late in the first half we started to get things together and in the second half we played pretty well."
The pattern of the Test mirrored the World Cup quarter-final between the teams last October when the All Blacks were put through their paces physically before pulling clear with two late tries.
Julian Savea scored their first in the 66th minute, finally responding to Argentina's lone score in the 13th - a try to prop Rodrigo Roncero.
Meanwhile, Hansen revealed that he shared a beer with his All Blacks coaching predecessor Sir Graham Henry after the Test.
Henry spent the week helping coach the Pumas against his former team, drawing criticism from some quarters that he had gone beyond his job description as a coaching consultant for Argentina rugby.
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