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Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

Carter eyes 'grand slam' send-off

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 29 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio 5 Live. Highlights on BBC Three (Saturday, 1910 GMT) and BBC Two (Sunday, 1510 GMT), BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

By Bryn Palmer

Dan Carter trains with the All Blacks
Carter has scored 120 points in six Tests against England

Dan Carter is determined to sign off for his French leave by guiding the All Blacks to a second 'grand slam' over the home nations in three years.

The fly-half, who averages 20 points a game against England, next week starts a six-month sabbatical with Perpignan.

"There is still a lot of work to do to get there but to be involved in two All Blacks sides that won grand slams would mean a lot," he said.

"It would be huge. It is a real goal we have been working towards."

Carter is one of 17 players in the current squad who also featured on the last grand slam tour in 2005, only the second time a New Zealand party had beaten England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales on the same tour, following the successful 1978 All Blacks.

Since then, of course, the world's number one team have suffered the trauma of another World Cup disaster, the favourites shocked by France in last year's quarter-final in Cardiff.

I am focused on doing the best I can individually and for the team I love, the All Blacks

Dan Carter
But their response to that bitter disappointment, and the loss of a dozen frontline players overseas after the tournament, has been impressive.

Victory at Twickenham on Saturday would be New Zealand's 13th in 15 Tests since the start of June, a sequence that yielded a fourth straight Tri-Nations title despite a last-minute home defeat by South Africa and a humbling by Australia in Sydney.

"This is a quite different side to what we had last year," Carter said. "We had our backs against the wall after those two losses in the Tri-Nations but we fought back well.

"This is the final hurdle of what would be a very successful year if we can do it on Saturday."

Carter has had his iPod "loaded up with French lessons" on this tour in preparation for the next six months, after which he will return to New Zealand for their new international season in June.

"It is not going too well," he admits, but he is looking forward to some individual tuition once he arrives in Perpignan next week.

While his team-mates contemplate a summer break on their return to New Zealand, Carter has a week of sponsorship and promotional commitments ahead of him.

He does not envisage being available for the Catalans' Heineken Cup trip to Leicester a week on Saturday, but is set to make his debut against the Tigers the following weekend in the return fixture in Perpignan.

Any hopes England might have that he is distracted by his imminent move to France would be misplaced, however.


Carter missed New Zealand's appointment with the Queen on Tuesday because he was doing extra kicking practice.

"I really pride myself on the fact that when I am on the training pitch or in team meetings, I am 100% focused," he added.

"Off the field, as the time has got nearer, you do find yourself drifting off thinking about it [France] sometimes.

"But when it comes to the job in hand, I am focused on doing the best I can individually and for the team I love, the All Blacks."

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see also
England v New Zealand (Sat)
28 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Respect haka, Henry warns England
26 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Smith back in New Zealand line-up
25 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani axed from England team
25 Nov 08 |  English
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh
England 6-42 South Africa
22 Nov 08 |  English
Ireland 3-22 New Zealand
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England 14-28 Australia
15 Nov 08 |  English
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish
England 39-13 Pacific Islanders
08 Nov 08 |  English

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