Dan Carter, the legendary All Blacks captain, has selected the finest player and squad he has ever faced in his long rugby career.
Carter named former England first-five Jonny Wilkinson as the best player he ever saw in nearly two decades of professional rugby, speaking on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod ahead of his upcoming Kickathon event for UNICEF and the DC10 Fund.
Carter met plenty of greats during that time, including Jonah Lomu, Brian O’Driscoll, Bryan Habana, Shane Williams, and George Gregan, to name a few.
DAN CARTERO ON JONNY WILKINSON
“There’s so many, it’s hard to pinpoint one [player]. Probably because I held him in such high regard and had huge amount of respect for him, it was Jonny Wilkinson. He was an absolute student of the game,” Carter told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.
“It was a wild, windy test match down in Wellington, I was on the bench and I hadn’t played a test match for the All Blacks, and he just took that game and, as a 10 that wants to control a game, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Carter told the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.
“I got the best seats in the house on the bench. Part of me was going, ‘Man, do I really want to get on here because he’s just completely dominating this game’.
“Thankfully I didn’t. I made my test debut the following week, which was a much better game to remember, but I just remember sitting there going, ‘If I ever do play 10’ – I was playing 12 a lot then – ‘this is how you need to control a game’.
“I had a huge amount of respect for him and playing against him.”
Carter – somewhat unsurprisingly – added that former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw was the best player he ever played alongside.
“His actions was some of the best leadership that I’ve ever seen,” Carter said of McCaw on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.
“It would just inspire you being right next to him and seeing it first-hand. It was like, ‘Right, okay, I’m going to do the same’.”