Carter almost didn’t face Boks

Dan Carter has revealed that he could barely walk after the All Blacks' convincing World Cup quarter-final win against France because of a sore knee.

In his new book, My Story, the flyhalf says he thought he would miss his side's semi-final against the Springboks.

'I caught up with the team's medical staff, and they realised I'd tweaked my MCL [medial collateral ligament]. I was given a cortisone injection, and didn't train at all on Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday was our day off, so I focused on getting right for Thursday, and figured I'd know then what my chances of running out that weekend were.

'Throughout that time I was fighting to avoid thinking the worst – that all my training and rehab was for nothing, that I'd miss out on the big games again. I spent time with Gilbert [Enoka, mental skills coach], which helped. He broke my day into two-hour blocks: the first would be gym and recovery; the next spent doing media – it gave me control and something on which to focus.

'Thursday came, and with it two training sessions. The morning was really light. I had a wee run around, and it felt a lot more stable. But I still wasn't confident on it – between the pain and the messages it sent to my brain I couldn't play with the necessary freedom. After my morning run I decided to get a local anaesthetic in my knee, just to take the pain away. That allowed me to – finally – get in a good, hard training session, which was a huge confidence booster.'

Carter went on to play an important role in the All Blacks' 20-18 win against the Boks, kicking two touchline conversions, a penalty and a drop goal early in the second half when his side was down to 14 men.

Read the full extract

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt