Dan Carter reflects on 2020

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Carter told French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique that with all the uncertainty in the world at the moment he was taking the remainder of the year to rest and enjoy time with his family, something he hadn't been able to do over the last two years because he lived in Japan.


"I missed them very much and I wanted to spend more time with my wife and three young sons.


"I'm not thinking of playing abroad either because the New Zealand borders are still closed," he said.


Carter told the newspaper he had been saddened to learn of the death of French star Christophe Dominici and the tributes paid to him across the world had been an example of the respect he earned.


"He's someone I played against, who I had the utmost respect for, and who literally destroyed the All Blacks on a number of occasions as well…I couldn't believe he was gone," he said.


Carter said his immediate thought was for Dominici's family but upon thinking more he reflected on the impact he had.

"For me, he embodied the French flair. I've always had a lot of respect for French rugby, which has beaten us so many times. Christophe represented this rugby, able to score from any place on the pitch. He had electric support, an innate sense of timing and played with instinct.


"It's very sad to lose a player, and a character, of this dimension," he said.


Carter said he felt the All Blacks Tri Nations win [38-0] over Argentina had been huge.


"They really needed this one. They've been questioned a lot lately because it's rare that we lose two games in a row. However, that was the case, especially as the second defeat was historic as the Pumas had never defeated the All Blacks before, he said.


"They found themselves with their backs to the wall, and bounced back beautifully.


"It has been a difficult year for everyone, and the team has not escaped it, especially since it has a new coaching panel who have taken the chance to bring through some young players.


"It wasn't the most successful season in All Black history, but I'm sure they learned things that will be useful for them in the future," he said.

Responding to a question about the most terrifying opponent he faced, Carter said, "You're never terrified of anyone on a rugby pitch".


But he did say that he thought South Africa's forwards were always on the look out for him. Locks Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield were always competitive, he recalled hooker Bismarck du Plessis's tackle on him that broke his collarbone,  but he especially remembered flanker Schalk Burger.


"This guy had such an engine under his hood that he never stopped. When you played against him, you knew that in the next few days your body would make you suffer," he said.


Carter also spoke about Richie McCaw’s ability to over-ride pain during the final stages of the 2011 World Cup.


"During this period, he completely forgot about the pain. Except after the games when he couldn't walk for three days. He was seen covered in sores and bruises, limping through the weekend. Then came the game and he would do the same again.


"We wondered how he did it, but it inspired us all. He played and won a quarterfinal, a semifinal and a World Cup final with a broken foot. He wasn't training for those three weeks. He just walked the week, and put the pain aside for games," he said.


Carter said he had enjoyed the chance to play club rugby with his Southbridge side in Canterbury Country rugby during the year.


"It was refreshing. I enjoyed playing with guys for whom rugby is not a profession, who are there just because they love this game and who show up every Tuesday and Thursday night in the cold, after a hard day's work to just practice their passion.


"These guys don't care if they're not called up by Canterbury, the Crusaders or the All Blacks. They play just because they love it," he said.


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