Carter back as All Blacks head to Sydney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carter back as All Blacks head to Sydney

16/08/2009 07:40:47 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw says the loser of Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with the Wallabies is "all but gone".

And McCaw says New Zealand can't expect recalled five-eighth Dan Carter to come back and single-handedly lift the side.

The All Blacks arrived at Sydney Airport on Sunday evening in preparation for next Saturday's clash at ANZ Stadium.

New Zealand occupy second spot on the ladder behind unbeaten South Africa, having defeated Australia in Auckland before losing both their games to the Springboks in South Africa.

Australia are currently bottom of the table after losing in Auckland and to South Africa in Cape Town.

McCaw suggested New Zealand's Tri-Nations destiny might already be out of their own control and that the loser on Saturday would effectively be eliminated from title contention.

"If you don't win this week, the Tri-Nations is all but gone I would suggest," McCaw told reporters.

Asked if there was more pressure on the team heading into what is effectively a winner take-all contest, McCaw said: "It's always like that it hasn't changed too much.

"But I guess in the context of the tournament it might even be out of our control now.

"But if we're going to be a chance, we've got to win the last three games. We've got to start that on Saturday."

McCaw warned against expecting Carter to be a miracle worker following their two losses in South Africa.

The talismanic pivot has played one club and two provincial games since recovering from a knee injury he suffered while playing for French club Toulon.

"He (Carter) has obviously worked pretty hard to get himself back ready and he had a game on Friday night which a few of us saw," McCaw said.

"He played particularly well, so it's nice to have him back in the squad.

"But I guess we've got to be careful we just don't expect one guy to come back and it's going to change everything.

"We've all got to make sure that we iron out the things that weren't right in the last couple of weeks."

McCaw also down played the potential impact on the Wallabies of the loss through injury of their captain and outside centre Stirling Mortlock.

He said Mortlock's loss would be felt "perhaps a little bit".

"But the last time we were here a year ago he wasn't playing as well and we came second, so you don't get too excited just because one guy is missing," McCaw said.

He was looking forward to yet another duel at the breakdown with George Smith, who is expected to lead the Wallabies in Mortlock's absence.

"It's always a good challenge against George, whether he's captain or not," McCaw said.

McCaw said Australia suffered a similar fate in South Africa to New Zealand, believing both visiting teams played the better rugby, but that the Springboks took their chances.

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