Dan Carter: England will want to make ‘statement’ against New Zealand in summer

Former All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter believes England have the talent to move away from “risk-free” tournament rugby and will be out to make a statement against New Zealand this summer.

England will face the Kiwis in Dunedin on July 6 and in Auckland a week later, with Steve Borthwick’s side looking for a first victory on New Zealand soil since 2003, when the head coach was an unused replacement in a 15-13 win in Wellington.

The two Tests will be the first under new All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson, who succeeded Ian Foster after winning seven Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders.

“It’s going to be really exciting,” two-time World Cup winner Carter told the PA news agency at the launch of a new charity to support elite players after they retire from the game.

“It’s a new coaching group in New Zealand so there’s a lot of anticipation.

“We’ve lost a lot of experienced players and obviously with the success Scott Robertson had at Super Rugby level, everyone’s wondering if he can take that success on to the international stage up against an England side that will really want to come down here and make a bit of a statement up against a new-look All Blacks side.”

England surprised many observers by reaching the semi-finals of last year’s World Cup in France, where they lost by a point to a South African side which went on to beat New Zealand by the same slender margin in the final.

“I think England have actually even grown from the World Cup through the Six Nations, their ability or willingness to want to play with the ball a little bit more,” Carter added.

Steve Borthwick
England head coach Steve Borthwick was an unused replacement the last time England beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 2003 (John Walton/PA)

“I thought they played good tournament rugby to get as far as they did through the World Cup. There was a lot of risk-free rugby, they’re looking to expand and grow that and they’ve definitely got the talent there.

“Now it’s about being willing to continue to play with the ball more and play an exciting and attacking style of play which I’m sure a lot of their players would love to be a part of. It will be really interesting to see how they’ve progressed.”

Carter is one of 10 current and former rugby union stars who have launched the Global Rugby Players Foundation to support retired players with career coaching, grants and health and well-being programmes.

The 42-year-old admitted he suffered “a loss of identity” after ending his playing career and hopes sharing his experiences – and those of fellow founders Jonny Wilkinson and Richie McCaw – can help players of all levels.

“I knew exactly what my purpose was in life for close to 20 years, to be the best rugby player possible,” Carter said.

“That’s what was driving me every morning to get out of bed and when that finishes there is just that void there.

“There might be the odd player that actually enjoys leaving the game and thrives, but for the group of friends and team-mates that I’ve talked to it has been quite the opposite and that’s the strength of this foundation.

“It’s by the players, for the players, so that the founding group have all quite openly shared their experiences.

“We’re here for everyone, whether they have physical or mental health problems. Whatever it is we want to provide a holistic approach.”