WELLINGTON, July 23 – All Blacks star flyhalf Dan Carter said Thursday he is on the comeback trail after a six-month injury layoff.Carter injured his Achilles tendon playing for his French club Perpignan at the end of January and his appearance for Christchurch club Southbridge on Saturday will be his first game since then.
"I’m really happy with where my training is at following my injury," Carter said in a statement.
"I’ve done a lot of running in the past few weeks and speed work and contact work this week, so I’m confident that I’m ready to go."
The 27-year-old veteran of 59 Tests has been training with his Canterbury provincial team, for whom he is expected to play in the premier domestic competition which starts at the end of this month.
There is speculation Carter could return to the All Blacks for the latter stages of the Tri-Nations series against South Africa and the Wallabies, which finishes in late September.
Although coach Graham Henry has refused to comment on the prospect, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw would not rule it out.
"I guess it’s a possibility because we go right through until late September," McCaw told journalists in South Africa.
"Whether that’s the right thing for him or not is up to the coaches to decide.
"If he is ready to come back in, it would be a bonus, but you wouldn’t want to put him back in here if he wasn’t ready."
All Blacks fans have been wishing Carter a speedy recovery after patchy performances by stand-in flyhalfs Stephen Donald and Luke McAlister in Tests against France and Italy last month.
Donald went some way to easing their fears after a generally solid game in the All Blacks’ 22-16 win against the Wallabies in the opening Tri-Nations Test on Saturday.