Dan Carter ‘available’ for Crusaders selection

All Blacks and Crusaders star first-five Dan Carter has declared himself “available for selection” for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Carters has not played since the All Blacks match in November last year against England at Twickenham and has been on sabbatical this year.

To ease back into playing again Carter has played 120 minutes for his Southbridge club and is likely to be considered as a replacement on the Crusaders bench for this weekend’s Hurricanes match in Wellington.

Even though Carter is available for selection and without injury Colin Slade is expected to start for the Crusaders who lead the New Zealand Super Rugby conference and are hoping to extend their lead in the conference.

“I’m available for selection so I will leave that up to the coaches to decide,” Carter told Stuff.

“I am excited and keen to be part of it.”

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson says that Carter’s return has been “modified” since he rejoined training with the squad two weeks ago.

That could mean that Carter could make his return at second-five where he spent some time playing last year.

“It’s great to have him back and available to play, that is probably the key thing,” Matson said.

“Sladie is playing really well and that is probably the talking point. What do we do with our last Crusaders’ performance – the team was really settled and playing well.”

Slade’s goal-kicking has been outstanding this season and although the Crusaders and Slade struggled at the start of the season he has found form and the Crusaders are now third overall.

The Crusaders will be without wing Nemani Nadolo as he is on international duty with Fiji and All Black fullback Israel Dagg is nursing patella tendon problems so they will both miss the Hurricanes match.

Tom Taylor is likely to start at fullback with Kieron Fonotia at centre, and Ryan Crotty starting at second-five with Nafi Tuitavake taking over the wing spot from Nadolo.

Kieran Read played 40 minutes against England in Hamilton but will be closely monitored before they name the team on Thursday as Matson says they are “well aware of his past experience (with concussion)”.

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