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Introducing Dan Carter

Do the names Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Lebron James sound familiar? Thought so. How about Dan Carter? Probably not. All of these sportsmen have one thing in common; they are among the best exponents of their craft and some of the most talented individuals their respective sports have ever seen. For Woods, Messi, Ronaldo, Federer, Nadal and James, their talent has brought them fame and fortune, but what about Carter?

It would be interesting to see what level of name recognition Carter has in the UK, I would guess considerably less than in his homeland of New Zealand, but considerably more than in, say, the US. For those of you who have not heard of Dan Carter, he is the All Blacks’ fly half and star player. Since making his international debut in 2003, the number 10 has made 71 appearances for his country and has amassed an incredible 1075 points, including an impressive 27 tries. Of these 71 matches, the All Blacks have lost just eight, showing how much of a difference Carter makes. His average of 15 points per game is the highest of any international player who has scored more than 500 points. In addition to his role for the All Blacks, Carter represents the Crusaders in New Zealand’s Super 14. He is the competition’s all-time leading scorer. Make no mistake about it, Carter is much more than a points machine. He has the pace to open up opposition defences, the vision to bring teammates in to play and the ability to kick the ball wherever he chooses. He started his international career at inside-centre and his progression to the sport’s standout fly half is testament to his talent and versatility. He has won a whole host of personal accolades, including the IRB Player of the Year in 2005. He has been nominated a further two times, a total exceeded only by his teammate Richie McCaw. Carter is still only 28 years of age and his achievements stand up against any in the world of sport, so why does he not enjoy the exposure that the likes of Ronaldo, Federer, Woods etc. do? In truth, it is owing to the sport in which he excels.

Rugby's superstar Dan Carter (This image is the property of the BBC)

Rugby may be the national game in New Zealand, but on the world stage, it is still seen as a strange game played by a handful of nations in which people inexplicably bash in to one and other at breakneck speed. This is of course a gross over-simplification of what is a highly tactical and athletic sport, but the fact is rugby is a poor relation of football, golf, tennis etc. It simply does not have the global significance that these other sports do.

Those who possess Carter’s ability in more mainstream sports are global stars and multi-millionaires. Whilst I am in no way claiming Carter is a pauper (Perpignan reputedly paid him a whopping £30,000 a game for his short spell there), compared to the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and even James, who plays what is still a very US-centric sport, the Kiwi is lagging way behind in the fame and marketability stakes. In fact, decidedly average footballers such as Emile Heskey and Pascal Chimbonda enjoy greater fame and wealth than Carter which just goes to show that the fame one can achieve and the money one can make is very much dependent on the sport one plays and not the ability one has.

Whilst it is a shame that Carter does not enjoy the adulation his talent merits, he certainly does not let it bother him. Despite injuries in recent times, the star fly half continues to rack up points and lead his country to victory after victory and we should enjoy watching such a phenomenal talent for as long as he continues to play. The big question however, is can he finally lead the All Blacks to their first World Cup triumph since 1987? If he can, his stock will rise further and he will become an even greater national hero than he is now. You would be a brave person to bet against the All Blacks pulling it off.

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Categories: Rugby Union
  1. Roy Tosen
    August 11, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Dan Carter is brilliant. NZ should win the world cup.

  2. roin
    September 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    DAN CARTERS great and ever since i got into rugby ive all watched how he takes on challenges and in my oppinion he’s a greater sportsman than any of those above

  3. August 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I think we’d be getting in to the realms of judging the hearts of men if we tried to say whether or not it bothers him. I guess only he could answer that. All I can say is that whenever I have seen him play, he certainly seems to be a winner. He gives his all for the team and would not, on the surface, seem to be someone who is motivated purely by cash. Then again, I actually think that whilst such sportsmen exist, they are in the minority. Most love their sport and like winning.

    The point here is that there exists a huge discrepancy between football, basketball, golf, F1 etc and sports like rugby. Carter, ability wise, is every bit as special as Messi, Ronaldo, Woods etc but will never be in a position to command the sort of money they do purely because he plays a ‘minority’ sport at the end of the day. Rugby has come on leaps and bounds since it became professional 15 years ago, but it still lags way behind. Due to it’s lack of global appeal, I think this will remain the case. Whatever the case, Carter is undoubtedly an elite sportsman and hopefully, for him, he can finally lead the All Blacks to the World Cup. Anyone who watched them on Saturday against the Wallabies will know why it is such a mystery that they haven’t won it since 1987.

  4. Superiorraw
    August 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I guess a more interesting question is, does the lack of fame/fortune when paired up against other atheletes bother Dan Carter? Can we honestly look at this players record and say that he is someone who plays for money and fame?

    It sounds like he’s someone who plays because he loves to win and loves the sport, and if he’s paid enough to keep him from doing a full time job as well (which he most likely is) then I dont think the mismatch in terms of money and fame will bother him.

    Real rugby fans will know all about Dan Carter and appreciate him and his performances. Those outside of the sport (like me) have never even heard of him until today still wont bother appreciating him. If your just not interested in certain sports then your going to want to learn/know less about them.

    I dont think I could name 10 of the worlds best cricketers or rugby players if I tried right now, but it doesn’t mean to say those atheletes are rubbish. I think deep down it all comes back to the athelete, are they in it for the money and the fame of being recognised world wide, all the endorsements? Or are they in it for the love of the sport they play?

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