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29th Jun 2023

Dan Carter on his toughest opponent and most underrated teammate

Patrick McCarry

Dan Carter

The Kiwi legend also had lots of praise for Antoine Dupont.

Dan Carter was in Paris for the annual Midi Olympique Oscars and he shared his thoughts of toughest opponents, funniest teammates and a player that was underrated even though he ended up winning two World Cups.

The annual awards ceremony, put together by the folks at the long-running French rugby publication, honoured the La Rochelle duo of Gregory Alldritt and Brice Dulin, as well as acclaiming France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont as their world player of the year.

Carter was one of the guests of honour at the ceremony and, before the gongs were handed out, gave some fascinating answers to questions rugby fans love to know. He kicked off by saying a current player he would love to share the pitch with would be Dupont, and many of us would love to see that too.

Asked for his three favourite players in the game, he listed All Blacks legends Jonah Lomu, Richie McCaw and former France captain Thierry Dusautoir. There is a heap of Dusautoir respect in New Zealand for how he inspired Les Bleus to the final of the 2011 World Cup, before they lost the decider to the ABs. On most underrated player, Dan Carter said:

“Conrad Smith. He’s a white battler and an amazing player to play with.”

Dan CarterSchalk Burger and Bakkies Botha embrace after the Second Test against the British & Irish Lions, in 2009. (Credit: Getty Images)

Dan Carter on his toughest opponent

Up next on the questions hit-list for Dan Carter was the toughest opponent he ever faced off against, from his stints playing for Crusaders, New Zealand, Perpignan, Racing 92 and Kobelco Steelers.

“Schalk Burger was the toughest opponent that I’ve ever played against.” he said. “He tried to kill me, every time we played South Africa.”

The South African, who won World Rugby Player of the Year at the age of just 21, in 2003, was known for his uncompromising physicality, and skills as a back row. “I never really shirked away from the physical stuff,” he said in a House of Rugby interview, a few years back.

Dan Carter also name-checked Ma’a Nonu as his funniest teammate and said his favourite stadium to play in was the Millennium Stadium [now the Principality] in Cardiff.

As for the upcoming World Cup, he said France are the favourites but “underdogs” New Zealand can still get the job done.


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