Carter key to All Blacks’ success at World Cup

It's a team game, but the All Blacks have one man to thank for edging out South Africa 20-18 to earn a place in the World Cup final.

Ben Smith, Jerome Kaino and Brodie Retallick continued their brilliant form in the semi-final, but this has been Dan Carter's World Cup.

It was his running and passing that shone against France in the quarter-final, and his kicking and tactical direction that won it against South Africa.

It was as simple as this - he delivered one of the great performances at Twickenham and the All Blacks wouldn't be in the final without him.

The semi-final was always going to be a game that hinged on a small number of decisive acts - Carter delivered most of them for the All Blacks.

He ripped the ball free from Schalk Burger inside South Africa's 22 to set up the first try.

He converted twice from the touchline, and he landed a drop goal that the top 10 fly-halves in world rugby would have struggled to replicate.

Asked whether he planned the drop goal, Carter said he came up with the idea about 20 seconds beforehand.

"It was probably more of a psychological blow than anything," he said. "We were down to 14 men and if the Boks took points at that stage it could have been tough."

Backs coach Ian Foster said he wasn't sure if Carter was in the best form of his career, but said it hardly mattered.

"He's in the form we need him to be right now. For someone who has gone through what he has and then been able to control the way the team he has, it is outstanding," Foster said.
"To see him playing freely and enjoying it was outstanding."

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