Dan Carter likely to make his season starting debut

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James Mortimer     29 Mar 2012     Getty Images

Carter had a full second half against the Cheetahs to show he was in good condition, and a large factor in whether or not the Investec Super Rugby record point’s scorer plays a full match will depend on if coach Todd Blackadder and the man himself deem it suitable to take on full kicking duties.

Israel Dagg played on the wing early in the season, which was partly designed to shield him from kicking duties as the normal fullback made his way back from injury.

Young Tom Taylor played well against the Cheetahs, and Blackadder had no problem with shifting the young first five out to accommodate Carter’s second half introduction.

Taylor kicked three conversions and three penalties against the South Africans.

Marshall and the presence of Tyler Bleyendaal means that Carter can be managed, despite the reality being that the Crusaders will be tempted to play their All Blacks general as often as possible.

His game management and distribution was instantly on display as he made his first appearance for six months.

The Lions in Johannesburg are a dangerous proposition after the team has lost a couple of narrow encounters, but Blackadder might feel Carter needs another gradual introduction to make sure he is up to speed.

A 2012 debut run on against Springboks and Bulls first five-eighth Morne Steyn would be mouthwatering, and the skills of Carter might be crucial at Loftus after the Bulls send out a terrifying broadside with their hammering of the Reds.

The Crusaders have indicated that Carter’s return to the starting team is likely to be a decision made by both the coaching team and the scorer of 1,272 Super Rugby points.