Dan Carter reveals why he kicked final conversion with weaker foot
Dropping a goal from 40 metres just as Australia were threatening to stage a remarkable comeback may have been Dan Carter’s crowning moment on Saturday.
However, it was the final act of his glittering All Blacks career on Saturday night that typified the reason why he will enter international retirement as the greatest fly-half to have played the game.
By that stage he had become New Zealand’s top tackler of the match with 12 but for the first time in his career he allowed himself a moment of indulgence. Beauden Barrett had just crossed for the final try when Carter decided to see if he could meet the challenge of landing the conversion with his right foot instead of his preferred left.
Yet even then he had left nothing to chance. “It was a bit weird but it’s always been a dream of mine to kick a conversion right-footed,” Carter said. “I sort of had a bit of fun with the guys in the team that it would ever happen. The opportunity came. I practised a few in training off my right foot and I just thought I’d give it a little go.”
The kick by Carter was flawless and brought his personal haul in the match to 19 points and his career total to 1,584 in 112 appearances. So the IRB player of the year in 2005 and 2012 retires from Test rugby with nothing left to prove or any more targets to meet.
He has spent his career preparing for the 40-metre drop goal which swung the game back in New Zealand’s favour and the penalty from just inside the Australia half that took the game finally beyond them.
“To kick that drop goal and give ourselves a little bit of breathing space was an important part of the game,” Carter, who had missed the 2011 final because of injury, said.
“It was instinctive. With the last penalty I wasn’t sure if I had the distance. I was contemplating with Skip (Richie McCaw), who was trying to tell me to put it in the corner and sort of wind down the clock.
“I knew I had adrenaline going through my body and it was such a crucial part of the game. Thankfully these old legs have got a bit of life in them yet. A couple of years ago I never thought I’d be standing here in this position. It’s been an amazing career for me. I’m just so proud. I couldn’t have written it better and to finish on such a high, I’m just so proud of everything I’ve achieved and the team’s achieved.”