Carter ‘ready’ to play Test rugby

Wayne Smith insists they have not rushed Dan Carter back too soon.

The All Blacks backs coach said the flyhalf would have returned to the squad regardless of their results in the opening three rounds of the Tri-Nations.

‘Our comment was that we didn’t want to put undue pressure on Dan or lock him into a time frame,’ Smith told the Dominion Post. ‘We left it to see how he would go and that was always the plan regardless [of results].

‘He’s done everything right with regards to his rehab from the day he did it so he’s physically as good as someone could be. Secondly, he’s done the work mentally as well as physically to be ready to play top-level rugby.

‘He’s in a good state of mind and as a result he’s hit the ground running. He’s been impressive, hasn’t he? He’s made good decisions tactically he’s been very good.’

Smith said Carter wouldn’t necessarily start against Australia in Sydney on 22 August.

‘We still have to make sure he’s ready [for Test rugby]. He’s clearly special, the way he can adapt, but you would have to keep it simple.

‘He has not been gone so long that he will have forgotten our plays, so he will get up to speed quickly. But he is not a knight in shining armour. He’s a cog in the machine, a very good cog, but still just one cog.’