All Black coach Graham Henry believes Dan Carter will be just as dangerous without the help of Tana Umaga.
Henry was responding to Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, who said Umaga’s retirement from Test rugby had left Carter without guidance at the top level.
“It’s amazing the knowledge of some of the coaches around the world about teams they don’t coach,” Henry said.
“When Stephen Larkham was 23 or 24, he probably had guys outside him… who talked to him.
“I think it’s natural that guys grow in the job. I think Daniel Carter’s a fabulous rugby talent and I’ve got a huge amount of time for him as a person. If he’s the finished article now, I’d be very surprised.”
Henry said both players were world-class but at opposite ends of their career.
“Stephen Larkham 10 years ago probably showed a lot of potential like Dan Carter does. Who’s going to finish up the better player in 18 months time?”
All Black captain Richie McCaw said Carter had proven that he could control a game.
“In the last 18 months he’s really taken over that,” he said. “He’s got [outside centre] Aaron Mauger there as well, who’s played a fair bit of rugby. Those two work pretty well together. In those positions you have to run the game and those two do it pretty well. As time goes on they’ll get better and better but they’re not bad at the moment.”