• Carter: He kept coming for me

    Former All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter has revealed that Schalk Burger was one of the toughest opponents he ever faced in Test rugby.

    Carter was speaking to Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford on Newstalk ZB, where he hailed the former Springbok flank as one of the ‘toughest-minded’ players he has ever come up against.

    NIC GROOM: Duhan van der Merwe is ready for Test rugby

    Burger enjoyed a 13-Test career between 2003 and 2015, during which he faced the All Blacks 16 times, including in the 2015 World Cup semi-finals.

    ‘He was tough. I kept looking at my All Blacks jersey wondering if I had a target like in the middle of the jersey or something because he kept coming for me,’ Carter said.

    ‘He was having a huge battle with our big forward pack. He just kept going. He didn’t stop. He was physical and just his leg drive was incredible.

    ‘A real competitor and absolute top bloke off the field as well. His mindset was a little bit different when he was out there competing. That just made him such a tough opponent to come up against.’

    The 38-year-old Carter returned to New Zealand rugby with the Blues, but a combination of an ankle injury and the return of the Covid-19 coronavirus – which cancelled the final Super Rugby Aotearoa game between the Blues and Crusaders – prevented him from making a single appearance for his new side.

    Blues coach Leon MacDonald revealed Carter was raring to play in that match if it had not been called off.

    ‘The fans would have loved to have seen him play in New Zealand again,’ MacDonald said. He looked really good but he also offered a lot to us off the park. He was fit and ready to go and have a good shot at being there. We know he is a Crusaders man at heart, but to put that aside and join the team is a testament to what a great guy he is.’

    STEFAN TERBLANCHE COLUMN: Let’s head north

    Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images