Cruden draws inspiration from Dan Carter - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cruden draws inspiration from Dan Carter

By Adrian Warren 08/09/2010 08:18:25 AM Comments (0)

Morale boosting words from Dan Carter have made young All Blacks five-eighth Aaron Cruden keen to show his wares on Saturday against the Wallabies side he expects to target him in defence.

Carter's ankle injury means 21-year-old Cruden will get his first run-on start at ANZ Stadium on Saturday after five Tests off the bench.

But chats with the peerless Carter have helped relax the young pivot.

"He just told me not to go into my shell and just play my natural game," Cruden told reporters on Tuesday.

"To hear that from him has given me a lot of confidence and that's what I will be planning to do on Saturday night.

"Obviously I'm not going to be Dan Carter, I'm going to be Aaron Cruden and we are going to do things differently.

"But I think the same game plan we've got doesn't change a hell of a lot from my natural game, and I'm pretty keen to get out there and show everyone my wares."

He definitely expected Australia to target him defensively on Saturday.

"They targeted Dan (Carter) quite a lot in Christchurch down his channel, so I don't see why they wouldn't do the same (to me) and I've been putting in a few hours of work on defence," Cruden said.

"It's going to be a huge challenge and one I'm pretty keen to test myself on."

New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen was adamant Cruden was ready for the responsibility of leading New Zealand around the field.

"He has come through a very testing year with flying colours, he's a confident young man," Hansen said of Cruden.

"He's shown he can run a team and he's just got to believe in himself and get on with the job.

"He will be well supported by the rest of the guys."

Hooker Keven Mealamu didn't train on Tuesday because of a calf problem, but would be fine later in the week.

He confirmed that five-eighth apart, there would be other voluntary changes to New Zealand's side.

"Obviously there is an opportunity, for the Tri-Nations and the Bledisloe Cup have been won, but it's still a major test, so there won't be wholesale changes," Hansen said.

Cruden will line up directly opposite another exciting young five-eighth, the Wallabies' New Zealand born, Quade Cooper, who he rated outstanding.

Like Cruden, Cooper can also expect plenty of heat from opposing defenders.

"You've got to take his time and space away and not give him the ball to operate with, that's when he makes you pay," New Zealand captain and openside flanker Richie McCaw said.

McCaw paid rising Wallabies star and opposing No.7 David Pocock a huge compliment.

"He's had quite an impact this year during the Tri-Nations, there's no doubt about that," McCaw said of Pocock.

"He's been around a couple of years now and I think he's got better and better. He's the type of guy that every time you play you're in for a good challenge and you've got to keep an eye on him because he can be a real menace at the breakdown.

"I'm looking forward to those challenges. You don't want it easy, you want to test yourself against the best and he's right up there at the moment."

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