Bittersweet experience for Carter’s 100th cap

New Zealand’s newest rugby centurion Dan Carter commemorated his 100th International cap by wearing a special pair of golden boots with “DC100” inscribed down the heel, and his father had flown over from the other side of the world to watch him play.

But Dan Carter’s 100th appearance for New Zealand didn’t go entirely to script on Saturday.

The All Blacks won 22-30 to stay unbeaten in 2013 but it proved a bittersweet afternoon at Twickenham for the superstar flyhalf, who played just 26 minutes before hobbling off injured.

“Disappointed for him, he’s had a wretched run of injuries,” New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said.

“But to reach 100 caps is no mean feat, and the style he has achieved them in – there aren’t too many bad performances in those 100. He should be pretty proud of himself.”

And there was a smile on Carter’s face as he received his silver cap from Richie McCaw on the Twickenham pitch after the final whistle.

“You will go down as one of the greats of world rugby,” McCaw cooed, in front of a few hundred All Blacks fans who stayed on. That group included Carter’s dad, Neville, who looked on proudly.

“Having him in the team certainly makes your job really easy.”

Injuries are beginning to take their toll on Carter, who is coming under pressure for his place from Aaron Cruden as the All Blacks build toward the 2015 World Cup.

But his frustrating, injury-hit last couple of years shouldn’t sully memories of the career of a majestic No. 10 who stole the honor of “world’s best flyhalf” from Jonny Wilkinson soon after making his international debut in 2003, and hasn’t lost that tag.

He holds the all-time point-scoring record in tests and his display in New Zealand’s series-clinching victory over the British and Irish Lions in the second test in 2005 is regarded by some as the ultimate performance.

“His contribution has been phenomenal,” McCaw said.

“I’ve played alongside him for a lot of those tests … we take for granted how good he is, we expect great things every time.

“He’s one of the reasons the All Blacks have had so much success in recent years.”

Carter became the fifth All Black to reach a century of caps, after McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and Mils Muliaina.

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