Dan Carter Tribute: King of the Flyhalves!

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Daniel (Dan, or DC as he’s called by his teammates) Carter in my mind remains to be the undisputed King of the Flyhalves! 

People often say it is easier to give credit to modern-era rugby players as you remember their performances more vividly, but in Daniel Carter’s case, his outstanding player stats don’t lie. He has simply been outstanding and spectacular to watch throughout his career in numerous aspects of the game.

His career highlights are the equivalent of a human highlight reel, to say the least.

Let’s review some of the achievements that stand out right away:

  • He remains to be the highest point scorer in test rugby. Considering the sheer number of talented players, this achievement alone deserves all our praise.
  • He received the IRB Player of the Year Award no less than three times; in 2005, 2012, and 2015. Equaling one other All-Black player, namely the talented Richy McCaw.
  • He shared 3 Super Rugby titles with The Crusaders.
  • He played in 9 (yes you read that correctly) Tri-Nations Rugby Championships, which for most players already constituted a successful rugby career.
  • Dan also had the privilege of playing in two Rugby World Cup tournaments, namely 2011 and 2015.
  • In the 2011 RWC tournament, Dan suffered an unfortunate groin injury during the Pool Stages, effectively taking him out of the tournament.
  • In the 2015 RWC, the ALl-Black made it to the final and Dan received the Man of the Match award raking in points for his team with 4 penalties, 2 conversions, and a drop-goal.

Dan started playing rugby at the age of 5 and later went on to play for Southbridge Rugby Club, as a scrumhalf. He later played in the representative teams for Ellesmere College in Canterbury County. In his final year, he transferred to Christchurch Boys’ High.

In his professional career, Dan had no equals when it came to point scoring and he racked up some of the most impressive rugby performances in a range of different categories:

  • Most test conversions (293)
  • Most penalties (281)
  • Most points vs England (178)
  • Most points vs France (163)
  • Most points vs Springboks (255)
  • Only player over 1500 test points 
  • Most conversions in RWC matches (58)

There is simply no arguing that Dan Carter was the most prolific points scorer and he remains comfortably seated at 352 points ahead of the second-placed point scorer. It will take an exceptional player to beat Carter’s current record.

Dan ended his rugby career with 1598 test match points from 112 tests (29 tries, 293 conversions, 281 penalties, and 8 drop goals) at an average of 14.27 points per game, the highest average of all players who ever scored more than 500 test points.

Here is an overarching year-by-year breakdown of Dan’s rugby career:

  • 2002 – Canterbury debut.
  • 2003 – signed by Crusaders, Super 12 Final, played mostly as the inside center, made All-Black’s debut at age 21, scoring 20 points vs Wales, included in the RWC 2003 squad.
  • 2004 – played mostly as the inside center, Super 12 final, secured his permanent position during the 2004 UK-France tour, displacing Carlos Spencer.
  • 2005 – moved to flyhalf, won first Super 12 final, starred in the 48-18 All Blacks win vs the Lions, he scored two tries, five penalties, and 4 conversions, ended the match with 33 points, breaking the previous All Black record of 18 points vs the Lions in a match, Carted was named 2005 IRB played of the year, first New Zealander to win the award.
  • 2006 – won Super 12 final, scored most individual points for a player in a season (221 points), most points in Super 12 history.
  • 2008 – Won Super Rugby title, signed a six-month contract with Perpignan.
  • 2009 – January he ruptured his Achilles tendon, Perpignan still won Pro 14, recovered in time to play for his Provincial Canterbury team, and got selected for the All Blacks team in August, after just a few months of recovery.
  • 2010 – after scoring a halfway penalty vs Wales, Carter became the highest-point scorer of all time
  • 2011 – reclaimed top points scorer, got injured during a training session early on in the RWC
  • 2012 – top scorer in Super Rugby history 1301 points, IRB Player of the Year.
  • 2013 – fifth All-Black to play 100 caps.
  • 2015 – joined Racing Metro after RWC, for 1,500,000 euros per year, making him the highest-paid rugby player, played his final game in the Bledisloe Cup final decider, played his final All Blacks game in the Bledisloe Cup final (lost the trophy for the first time), RWC 2015 final he scored 4 penalties, two conversions (one with each foot), and a drop goal, Man of the Match, and IRB Player of the year, final test kick was with ‘weak’ foot
  • 2016 – won top 14 (score 19-21), Dan Carter scored 5 penalties (15 Points), despite being 1 man down 18 minutes into the game (red card).
  • 2018 – Joined Kobelco Steelers in Japan’s top League.
  • 2019 – Returned to Racing Metro in February, after Patrick Lambie was forced to retire due to injury.
  • 2020 – Dan Carter made the switch to The Blues, but never made an appearance.

In 2021 Daniel Carter announced his retirement from professional rugby on Instagram but remains active in the sport in various public relational and public speaking roles.

Dan will forever be remembered for his tenacity, flair, and consistency, effectively earning him the title of King of the Flyhalves!