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A young Dan Carter planned to strike
it rich while Richie McCaw grew up
with a dream to pull on the All Blacks
Both men certainly surpassed those
targets and now they will farewell the
Canterbury region in which they found
so much success.
Carter and McCaw will play their
final matches in Christchurch when
the All Blacks meet Argentina at AMI
Stadium tonight, bidding ‘goodbye’ to
the province where it all began.
Long before they first delighted the
Canterbury public, Carter and McCaw
were raised as typical country boys,
albeit boys with lofty goals.
“The local newspaper did a profile on
him when he was 12,” Neville Carter,
Dan’s dad, said. “One of the questions
was, ‘what do you expect to make out of
rugby?’ And he said $1 million. ”
Carter, set to take up a world-record
contract in France following the World
Cup, always exhibited the talent needed
to reap the rewards from rugby. Gifted
a set of goal-posts in his backyard for
his eighth birthday, Carter was slotting
sideline conversions at 10.
“He was always a very talented
child but he worked very hard,” Chris
McMillan, manager of Carter’s first
club, in rural Southbridge, said.
“At the end of games, he’d always be
out there kicking goals. His father was
a pretty handy goal-kicker and a couple
of his uncles were goal-kickers, too. I
think it was handed down in the genes. ”
That was hardly the case with McCaw,
widely expected to retire after leading
the All Blacks’ World Cup defence.
McCaw senior never played rugby but,
according to his mum, Richie’s abilities
were abundant from a young age.
“He showed a good grasp of the game
right from the word go,” Margaret
McCaw said. “He wasn’t boastful about
the fact that he’d like to be (an All
Black) but, deep down, he thought he
could go a wee way. ”
The path that led McCaw to first
Canterbury and then the Crusaders
actually began in a North Otago club
competition, with his family living near
the border with South Canterbury. But
McCaw has bled red and black since
making his debut for the province in
1999: “He’s a true Canterbury boy,
through and through,” Margaret said.
Carter has displayed similar loyalty
since first running out at the old
AMI Stadium, rejecting offers from
other teams to remain in the region
throughout his career.
“ It ’s been quite a commitment in the
last few years, travelling two or three
times a week up to Auckland and back
with his family,” Neville said.
“ But it was a great thrill to follow
him right through. Hopefully the
crowd will enjoy Richie and Dan’s
performances tonight and give them a
St Andrews, Scotland
Dustin Johnson sounded an
warning to grand
slam-chasing Jordan Spieth by
outmuscling the youngster to power
his way to the top of the leaderboard
in the British Open first round
The 31-year-old Johnson gave an
object lesson in big hitting as he
bulldozed his way to a pacesetting
seven-under-par 65 in becalmed
early weather conditions at the
iconic Fife links.
Sharing second place on 66 are
fellow Americans Zach Johnson
and Robert Streb, South African
Retief Goosen, 1999 champion
Paul Lawrie of Scotland, England’s
Danny Willett and Jason Day of
Spieth, bidding to add golf ’s oldest
major to his wins at this year’s US
Masters and US Open, tucked in
two strokes behind countryman and
playing partner Dustin Johnson but
is all too well aware of the size of the
task that could lie ahead.
“If DJ keeps driving it the way
he is I’m going to have to play my
best golf to have a chance,” the
21-year-old Texan told reporters at
“It ’s hard to argue with somebody
who is splitting bunkers at about
380 yards and two-putting for birdie
on five or six of the holes when there
are only two par-fives on the course.
I don’t have that in the bag so I’ve
got to make up for it with ball-
While Johnson and Spieth were
showing off their dazzling skills,
former world No 1 and twice St
Andrews champion Tiger Woods
looked a pale imitation of his old self
as he slumped to a sad four-over 76.
The 14-times major winner made a
wretched start when he dunked his
approach into the Swilcan Burn on
the first hole and that set the tone
for a litany of errant strokes.
“The guys have been shooting good
numbers, unfortunately I did not do
that,” Woods said after ending the
day tied 139th in a field of 156.
“Hopefully the conditions will
be tough tomorrow and I can put
together a good round and move up
Woods’ prayers may well be
answered as the forecast for
tomorrow ’s second round is for high
winds and heavy rain.
Johnson, who suffered US Open
heartbreak last month when he
missed his eagle effort for victory at
the final hole and eventually three-
putted, turned the tables on Spieth
today but this was no grudge match.
“ We are good buddies and we like
playing with each other,” Johnson
said. “We had a lot of fun out
there. This venue here is one of my
favourite opens. I really like the golf
course and I think it sets up well for
The contrast in styles was stark as
world No 4 Johnson belted a series
of booming tee shots while second-
ranked Spieth relied on strategy,
deadly accurate approaches and a
magical touch with the putter.
The youngster gave an early
statement of his intent by ramming
in a 1.8m birdie putt at the first.
Spieth, looking dapper in a
grey sweater and white trousers,
continued to play smart golf and
added another birdie at the second.
The American whizzkid, trying
to emulate compatriot Ben Hogan
who won the year’s first three majors
in 1953, showed he was human
by missing from 2.4m at the third
before bouncing back with a birdie
hat-trick from the fifth.
Spieth picked up another shot
at the 11th but needed to caress a
curling 6m birdie putt into the cup
at the last to recover from dropped
strokes at the 13th and 17th.
He and Johnson had the advantage
of playing early in the day when the
weather conditions were ideal for
The winds started to gust between
28 and 32kph for the late starters
but it did not seem to bother Willett
or Zach Johnson as the pair shot up
the leaderboard. — Reuters
Friday, July 17, 2015
Johnson steals Spieth’s
thunder at St Andrews
Last Chch hoorah
Dan Carter, left, and Richie McCaw.
of the Herald on Sunday
Despite Steve Hansen urging his
players not to be anxious about World
Cup selection, it is unlikely any of the
outside backs in action this weekend will
be able to heed his advice.
The back three has become a puzzle,
which at this stage, does not look
obvious as to how it will be solved. There
are two secure elements in Ben Smith
and Julian Savea, but the remaining two
World Cup places remain entirely open.
Tonight, Charles Piutau, Israel Dagg
and Waisake Naholo will do what they
can to stake their claim and then the
following evening in Auckland, Cory
Jane will turn out for the Barbarians.
Naholo is perhaps the player with
the luxury of being least burdened by
The Highlander was Super Rugby’s
form wing — seemingly coming out of
nowhere. Rejected by the Blues in 2013,
he played Sevens for New Zealand in
the first half of 2014 before turning out
for Taranaki in the ITM Cup.
It was while playing for Taranaki that
All Black assistant coach Ian Foster
concluded there was something about
Naholo that was worthy of further
exploration so he persuaded Highlanders
coach Jamie Joseph to pick up the young
It proved the perfect marriage and
Naholo runs out tonight wearing the All
Black No 14 jersey and with a brief to do
what he has done all season and get the
ball in his hands, back his instincts and
play what he sees.
While no one within All Black
management is taking that bit for
granted, what they really need to see
from Naholo is the ability to deal with
the high ball; astute positioning on
defence, strong one-on -one tackling,
high workrate and a willingness to work
in partnership with Piutau and Dagg.
If Naholo can tick those defensive
boxes, he is going to take a giant step
towards World Cup inclusion. The
attacking threat he poses is such that he
is going to seriously tempt the selectors
to include him at the World Cup.
His lack of experience will be
overlooked — he is just that sort of
player whose lack of inhibition is a
strength rather than weakness.
“ He’s played for New Zealand at
Sevens before and he’s a quality player,”
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen
“ He’s just taken a little while to
transform that quality from Sevens into
fifteens but he’s found a home in the
Highlanders where he’s really taken off
and had an outstanding season. He was
a pretty easy pick in the end.”
With Smith’s versatility — he is a
natural fullback and brilliant wing — it
might be that Piutau, Dagg and Jane
are all chasing one spot if Naholo can
Clearly the selectors are keen to do all
they can to restore Dagg to form. They
believe the only thing holding him back
is lack of football and are likely to keep
him in the mix for the next three tests
regardless of how he plays tonight. But
he’ ll still need to show signs that he’s
on the right track — that his running
game is coming back and that he hasn’t
lost any of his accuracy or awareness on
Piutau, who played well on limited
rations in Apia, needs a reasonably big
game to stay in the picture. His decision
to head to Ireland next year will not
necessarily count against him, but it does
mean he will have to make a definitive
case for inclusion.
As for Jane, he is the perfect World
Cup player when he is in form. Brilliant
in the air; clever on the ground and still
one of the few men in the world who
can finish tries with just a postage stamp
amount of space. But he has to prove at
Eden Park that he can still do all that.
Puzzle over back three hard to solve
PICTURE: Getty Images
Jordan Spieth, left, stands on the 17th tee with his compatriot Dustin
Johnson during today’s first round of the British Open on the Old
Course in St Andrews, Scotland.
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