Dan Carter is a wonderful 1st five- that can’t be disputed. Dan Carter was definitely a vital part of the overall plan we had for the Rugby World Cup– that can’t be disputed. Dan Carter ruptured important bits and pieces in his groin and has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup- that can’t be undisputed. Without Dan Carter New Zealand‘s chances of winning the Rugby World Cup are dashed. That certainly can be disputed.
Dan Carter is a fantastic player, perhaps one of the best in the World today, and some would argue, THE best. BUT he is only one man in a team game that allows for 15 players to be on the field at any given time. He has been replaced in the full New Zealand squad by Aaron Cruden (who I think should have been there in the first place, but that’s a horse of another feather!) Whether Cruden makes the teams to play the remaining matches is something the selectors will sort out, in their infinite wisdom (and that’s another thing I have a contrary view on, but that also is a horse of a different feather!)
If we win the World Cup it will not be because of Dan Carter, clearly, BUT if we lose the Rugby World Cup it will not be the fault of Slade or Cruden or whoever fills in at 1st five eigthth. If we find ourselves in that terrible position we will surely be able to find plenty of other reasons for the failure. Yes, perhaps Slade will have lapses at important times, but so also might McCaw, Weepu, Nonu, Dagg, or any of the other superstars of the game we call ‘Our Boys In Black’. But we can’t lay any team failure at the door of one player. If one player happens to fall short of realising his potential then it is up to the players around him to help him through it and to compensate for it in another way (score tries instead of relying on the boot for points would do it in my book), up to the captain to re-jig on-field tactics to compensate until he hits his straps again, up to the 3 Wise Men in the God-Box to pass down sage advice of what to do about it. Surely to goodness the team are good enough to be able to get through to victory as a team and not on the back of one player?
As a Nation we should also be above blaming one player- is Dan Carter the winning or losing of the Rugby World Cup? If our thousands of passionate rugby fans believe the whole effort hinges on one player then we, as a rugby nation are in BIG trouble.
We have won the Rugby World Cup just once which means we have LOST the thing 5 TIMES!!! But guess what? The world didn’t end, we came through it, we chose new players and contested the next and the next (…and the next, etc.,) we did all sorts of navel gazing and soul searching, we became the top rugby nation in the world several times over in the intervening years, and we did this despite the fact of losing important players at various times! We will do it again (and again, if needs be.) We are far too proud a nation to let this hiccup distract our one-eyedness! We are a great rugby nation and for some years have been getting away from being a bunch of ‘tall poppy‘ syndromists, and I see no reason why we should revert, because in a funny sort of way that’s what this grief and dispair is, reverse ‘tall-poppy’ syndrome.
Dan, get well and back into shape- you’re young enough to still be the magic player again in 2015. (You can guarantee that if he’s fit, he’ll be selected!)
Come on, New Zealand! I don’t care whether you have a different preference from me for 1st five, let’s give whoever gets the nod ALL of our support so whoever runs on the firld KNOWS his country is right behind him!
GO THE ALL BLACKS! (Pity that has become such a Keyism, isn’t it? UNdervalues it, somehow!)