Daniel Carter is determined to be back before the end of the Rebel Sport Super 14, but Hamish Gard will start in his place against the Lions on Saturday night.
Report courtesy www.crusaders.co.nz.
Both details emerged from today’s Crusaders training session, with coach Robbie Deans confirming that Gard will be placed in the pivotal position in Carter’s absence when the team is officially named on Thursday.
The 22-year-old goal-kicking utility back, who became the 125th Crusader when he debuted as a second half substitute against the Bulls at Pretoria, first appeared on the representative scene as a first-five-eighths during two pre-season Ranfurly Shield challenge matches for Canterbury in 2006.
Gard subsequently made 11 appearances for the province last term, although his four ‘starts’ in that campaign all came at second-five-eighths, as have his two appearances thus far for the Crusaders.
A product of Manawatu, Gard earned his second Super rugby cap off the bench against the NSW Waratahs.
No decision has yet been made on the readiness of Stephen Brett to return to duty, although he has been involved in some training with the team and is a possibility to return in some form on Saturday night.
Brett injured the AC joint in his shoulder during the Crusaders’ 55-7 win over the Cheetahs at AMI Stadium on March 15.
Also currently on the injured list are fullback Leon MacDonald and lock Brad Thorn, although neither is considered serious.
MacDonald underwent an ultra-sound scan last Friday which revealed a small muscle tear in his thigh. This has placed his participation in Saturday’s match in doubt. Thorn is being dogged by a nagging calf injury.
Meanwhile Carter, who is beginning the process of overcoming a high ankle strain, spoke of his determination to get back on to the field before the Super 14 ends when he addressed the media today.
“Hopefully, if everything goes well with the rehab, I will be back for a few games before the end of the campaign,” Carter says.
“It’s too soon to say exactly when I will be able to play again, but I’ll be doing everything that I can to get back into the Crusaders jersey as soon as I can!”
The All Black, who suffered his injury making a tackle during the second half of the Crusaders’ 20-13 win over the Hurricanes on March 28, has spent most of the last week on the couch, keeping his leg and ankle elevated.
He is still on crutches for now, with his injured ankle securely fastened in a moon boot.
While neither Carter nor Crusaders doctor Tony Page are prepared to speculate as to when the star backline pivot will be able to resume training, and then play, both are optimistic that he could be back before the playoffs.
Page noted that Carter had shown himself during his career to be a “good patient who does everything right”.
That habit, Page said, would be advantageous, in terms of getting the 26-year-old back on the field “sooner rather than later”.
Six matches remain in the preliminary phase of the competition, with the semi-finals, scheduled for the weekend of May 23-25.
The Crusaders face the Queensland Reds and the Highlanders in their final two matches before the semi-finals.Tweet