All Black superstar Daniel Carter is a member of the Butch James fan club and Conrad Smith says Jean de Villiers is the best centre in the world at present.
“Butch is one of the very best in the world,” Carter said here on Wednesday.
“He has all the skills. He is a physical player who defends well, as everyone knows, and he attacks well, too. He is a polished player and an important asset to the Springbok team.
“Butch played very well last year and took his game to a new level. His experience now makes him an even better player.”
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Carter and James will handle the goal-kicking duties for their teams on Saturday and they are expected to take the role of generals in what will probably be poor weather conditions.
“I expect there will be a little more tactical kicking if the weather is bad,” Carter said. “If it’s wet and windy the ball will probably be kept among the forwards a little more.”
Carter enjoys the space that the experimental laws provide but he is also one of the best when the situation calls for a kicking game.
“The experimental laws make the game faster and the ball is in play for longer,” the All Black kingpin said.
“With the backlines having to stand five metres behind the scrum, it is easier for a flyhalf to get his three-quarters over the advantage line. But tactical kicking is also important.”
James will have his first experience of the experimental laws on Saturday because he was playing for Bath in England when the laws were introduced in the Super 14.
The Springbok has the skills to adapt to and make use of the laws but the conditions will probably limit adventurous rugby.
Carter is happy with New Zealand’s form so far this year and feels the All Blacks have done much to regain the public’s trust after crashing out of the World Cup race in France last year.
South Africa won the Webb Ellis Cup and Carter says, “It will send out a strong message if we can beat the Springboks.
“We did well against Ireland and England, but it will be much harder to play South Africa. They have an experienced side and will be full of confidence but we’re ready to challenge them.”
Team-mates provide direction
The injury that is keeping All Black captain Richie McCaw out of the match will make Carter an even more important player, even though he does not see it that way. “I don’t regard myself as a star,” he says.
“I believe my team-mates provide direction; we help each other. If they don’t do the work, I can’t function.”
Smith, who will play against South Africa for the first time, said De Villiers and Australia’s Stirling Mortlock were the “best midfielders in the southern hemisphere and in the world.
“Jean has been outstanding for several years. His game has developed a lot. The way he led the Stormers in the Super 14 this year shows he is a very special player.
“His defence is brilliant and he reads his opponents well. He takes the right options and it seems he can do most things well – kicking, running and creating. He is the perfect player,” the young New Zealander said here on Wednesday.Tweet