Dan Carter ... determined to line up against England. Photo: AFP
LONDON: Dan Carter has more reason than most to risk a return against England as he looks for the first unbeaten season of his illustrious Test career.
The odds on the five-eighth running on to Twickenham on Saturday have shortened dramatically after he made it through Tuesday's light training session unscathed.
A week ago Carter was a 50-50 prospect at best, dodgy enough for the selectors to pluck Tom Taylor off a beach in Thailand.
Now, it seems, the world's best five-eighth is determined to torment England once again, a side against who he has averaged 18.5 points in nine Tests. It is no surprise Carter is making every effort to shake off the annoying pain at the junction of his calf and Achilles.
The injury kept him out of the Wales Test, but to finish this season on the sidelines will be as appealing as a dip in the Thames. ''It's the last game of the year and I want to be a part of it. The week for me is doing whatever I can to get myself into a position to play,'' he said.
The 30-year-old was adamant his recent history of serious leg injuries was not a concern. His body was in ''good nick'' and he wondered if recurring niggles in his right leg were because of overcompensating after post-World Cup groin surgery on his left. After last season's heart-breaking Cup calamity, this year-ender holds special appeal.
''The drive is there and that's the most important thing. The hunger for the game and enjoyment and desire to go out and play as well as I can each week is still there,'' he said.
Now he has the chance to lie on his beach towel with the broad smile of being part of an unbeaten Test season.
He has achieved most things, but an unbeaten Test season is not one.