Daniel Carter, after a year spent on sabbatical and in convalescence from a broken leg, was terribly rusty.

Daniel Carter and All Blacks guilty of a catalogue of errors in their unconvincing win over Scotland at Murrayfield

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/newzealand/11234554/Dan-Carter-and-All-Blacks-guilty-of-a-catalogue-of-errors-in-their-unconvincing-win-over-Scotland-at-Murrayfield.html Via telegraph.co.uk  For 70 minutes it was as if the rugby world was turning in on itself. 

Daniel Carter, the finest fly-half of them all, missed two kicks that he would typically have slotted before breakfast, while Richie McCaw, making his first ever appearance at blind-side for the All Blacks, gifted Scotland an interception with the clumsiness of a rookie.

If this had looked like an experimental New Zealand side on paper, then it also produced a performance littered with unfamiliar errors. Steve Hansen’s side looked ‘out of sorts’ against the hosts but still managed to hold on and preserve their historic record.

Carter, upon his much-trumpeted return to the Test arena after a year spent on sabbatical and in convalescence from a broken leg, was terribly rusty.

Guilty of elementary handling errors that compounded the frustration of his errant boot, the world’s most prolific fly-half lasted less than an hour as head coach Steve Hansen hooked him in favour of Colin Slade, ranked only fourth in New Zealand’s pecking order in that position, comfortably behind Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett. It was all a little undignified.

In mitigation, Carter was candid about his own shortcomings at Murrayfield. “Those first 20 minutes were pretty scratchy and there were a lot of mistakes from me which, if I get another chance, I’ll have to improve,” he said. “My option-taking probably wasn’t the best at times. But I was pretty pleased to be out there playing again and I felt, as the game went on, that I grew in confidence.”

Hansen tried to argue that the All Blacks had done “very well” to prevail in spite of Scotland’s bloody mindedness, but the less palatable truth was this was, both technically and aesthetically, among their worst displays in recent memory.

The eight-point margin of victory was the closest they had allowed the Scots to come for 23 years, since they squeezed through 13-6 in the third-place match at the 1991 World Cup. Had Greg Laidlaw demonstrated a touch more composure with a kick that could have put the hosts 19-17 clear with 10 minutes left, New Zealand would have paid far more dearly for their sloppy inaccuracy. Instead, they …   Read More>