Carter moves to 12 for Crusaders

New Zealand’s Sunday News reports that Crusaders coach Robbie Deans plans to play Dan Carter at number 12 during the Super 14.


The plan is thought to be to play the 22 year old Stephen Brett at No.10 instead of Carter.


The move will have a knock on effect on the All Blacks and could see Carter at No 12 and either Brett or Nick Evans in at first five.


“That’s a distinct possibility,” Deans said of Brett at No 10 inside Carter for the Crusaders’ opening game on February 15.


“They’ve both played second-five before. Dan of course has played there to a high level.”


Deans was the All Blacks assistant coach in 2003 under Mitchell when Carter was introduced to test rugby as a second-five.


And after seeing Brett develop while Carter was being “conditioned” this year Deans is determined the master and apprentice play together.


“There’s no doubt about the likely starting point (for the Crusaders) will be those two players in the five-eighth positions.”


Sunday News’ rugby analyst, former All Blacks coach Laurie Mains, said the move was a masterstroke.


“Playing Carter at second-five is a very astute move,” Mains said.


“After all that is where he started his career and looked sensational as a second five-eight given his ability to make the outside break. “Aaron Mauger showed glimpses of having that skill but you really need to go back to the days of Walter Little to find someone who did it consistently.


“Carter has all the skills, speed and strength to be one of the great No 12s.”


The downside to all of this is that Brett will need to improve his defence. He was exposed at times on defence last year but Sunday News understands Deans will employ the tactics he used when Andrew Mehrtens was in the Crusaders No 10 jersey.


When the team is on defence fullback Leon MacDonald will join the d-line with Brett falling back into the sweeper role.


Mains said that tactic won’t be needed after another season with Deans.


“Robbie will improve Stephen Brett’s tackling,” said Mains.


“He doesn’t lack courage. He lacks confidence and technique. That will not be too difficult a job for Robbie to put right.”

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