Carter set for emotional Christchurch farewell

All Blacks and Crusaders star Dan Carter is preparing to make his final guaranteed appearance at AMI Stadium in Christchurch before he leaves New Zealand to play in France.

The Crusaders 12th Round loss to the Hurricanes has the Christchurch side in ninth place and they will need an almost perfect run in their remaining matches if they are to reach the play offs.

They host the struggling Reds at AMI Stadium this weekend and their only other remaining “home” fixture is against the Hurricanes (on May 29) but this has been transferred to Nelson to accommodate the Fifa under-20 World Cup.

Given the importance of home advantage in Super Rugby it is highly unlikely that the Crusaders will host a play off and even a place in the play offs looks unlikely so Carter’s Red and Black playing days in Christchurch looked like they are numbered.

“Being a Cantabrian and growing up in Christchurch to play for Canterbury and the Crusaders has meant so much to me,” Carter told Stuff.

“To think it is probably going to be my last game on home soil means it will be a pretty emotional time throughout the week.

“What I love about playing at home is being in front of the fans. They are the best in the world, so hopefully we can get a good turnout.”

The All Blacks will play Argentina in Christchurch on July 17 so Carter could be back for that but after the World Cup Carter will play in France for Racing Metro and at 33 now he might not play again in New Zealand.

Carter made his Canterbury debut in 2002 and his Crusaders debut in 2003 but having become one of the greatest first five-eighths in the game he is unlikely to No 10 against the Reds.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is expected to start Colin Slade at first-five and keep Carter at No 12 as he has done this season.

While there are implications for the All Blacks of Carter being played out of his preferred position he refuses to fuel the debate on where he should be starting.

“I just want to be playing. Obviously my preference is 10 but I am doing what is best for the team at 12. It is just one of those things, I have to get on with it and Sladie is in fantastic form. It just makes sense.”

To remain in the running for the play offs the Crusaders realistically need a bonus-point win but Carter refused to accept that they are out of the reckoning.

“No, definitely not. We just need a couple of wins to get right back in this competition.”

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