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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

All Black Dan Carter on verge of setting points record

Dan Carter
Dan Carter has scored 1,176 points for the All Blacks in 78 Tests

New Zealand star Dan Carter goes into Saturday's match with Wales needing only three points to become the highest scorer in Test rugby.

His 18 points in last weekend's 38-18 win over Ireland left him just shy of Jonny Wilkinson's record of 1,178.

The 28-year-old fly-half made his international debut against Wales in June 2003, scoring 20 points.

"It would be pretty cool to achieve it against the side where it all started," admitted Carter.

"But the team comes first. Personal milestones are nice and it's good to be proud of them, but that's not what drives me. If I get a couple of goals that would be good."

Carter did have a chance to get the record in Dublin on Saturday. A series of four penalties in the second half offered him the chance to overhaul Wilkinson, but captain Richie McCaw opted for a scrum each time.

It was a decision that later earned McCaw a mild reprimand from Carter.

He said: "I didn't know how many points I needed, I just wanted to take the kick. When I found out afterwards I gave Richie some stick about it!"

McCaw hinted that Carter was more aware of the record than he let on with the duo having a conversation before the series of penalty scrums began.

I've been surprised that Wales have lost a few games, but we never have any false illusions about the opposition

Graham Henry

"Dan obviously knew how many points he was on because I had no idea, I wasn't thinking like that," said McCaw.

"He said to me afterwards, 'Jeez, if you'd given me that I would have got the record'.

"I thought, 'Oh well, next week!'. Had I known I don't know if I'd have done it any differently.

"The difference between a 15 and 18-point lead isn't much, so I thought we'd put the pressure on.

"But now I understand why he was asking for the shot at goal!"

Wales, who are staring at a winless autumn, will be concerned after New Zealand faced a confidence-restoring display from Ireland yet still emerged 20-point winners.

And coach Graham Henry insists he will not allow complacency to derail the All Blacks' hope of completing a fourth grand slam tour.

"I've been surprised that Wales have lost a few games, but we never have any false illusions about the opposition," he said.

"We thought the Irish would be highly competitive and they were, and we expect Wales to be the same.

"We try to keep our feet on the ground. We were beaten by Australia in Hong Kong a few weeks ago.

"We have to make sure we're up for each game and try to do the business.

"When we start thinking we're number one in the world is when we'll be second.

"We've had enough big contests on this tour to know that any side is capable of beating you on the day."

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see also
Ireland 18-38 New Zealand
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Carter eyes 'grand slam' send-off
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union

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