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Mere Mortal Carter Rediscovers The Magic

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Mark Geenty of NZPA

London, Nov 22 NZPA - SuperDan showed he was a mere mortal, but by the fulltime whistle at Twickenham normal transmission had resumed for the All Blacks' record-breaking test rugby pointscorer.

Dan Carter's 14 points -- four penalties and a sideline conversion of Jimmy Cowan's try -- saw him top Andrew Mehrtens' record of 967 points as the All Blacks beat England 19-6.

The star pivot took five fewer tests (65) than Mehrtens to reach the mark, and by test's end Carter was well on the way to four figures as he sat on 980.

"It's a great feeling, I'm very proud. It's something I'll look back on at the end of my career more so and be very happy with it," he said.

"To overtake a good mate like Mehrts is something I'm pretty happy with. Hopefully there's a few more points to be scored yet."

But there were a few speed wobbles getting there.

Carter missed his first penalty attempt from in front, and kicked five from seven in all. Going into the test he'd kicked 13 from 13 in Tokyo and Cardiff, before his one-match high tackle suspension.

When he punted a ball dead from a penalty, trying to earn an attacking lineout, All Blacks fans were rubbing their eyes.

But he was still a threat with ball in hand, and defended superbly, summed up by his trysaving tackle on England bench forward Tom Croft in the 73rd minute.

Said coach Graham Henry: "We're used to perfection, aren't we? When he misses a couple of goals it's not perfection for him, so he'll be disappointed in that.

"But he's a big defender and a critical man in the side. You can't expect to have a 10 out of 10 every week, 9.5 is not bad."

Carter acknowledged his record-breaking feats came with a fair dose of frustration.

"It was pretty frustrating with ball in hand, things weren't gelling as well as we would have liked. Missing a couple of easy kicks is never much fun.

"But you take the good things with the bad and I was extremely happy with my defensive game tonight, not only myself but the team, we really got off the line well and that's what set us up."

Meanwhile, one of the All Blacks' best, fullback Mils Muliaina, celebrated another milestone as he joined Justin Marshall on 81 test caps, behind only Sean Fitzpatrick's 92 on the New Zealand list.

A rejuvenated Muliaina said he was proud to move up the rankings in the history books as he eyes being the first New Zealander to 100 tests, with captain Richie McCaw two behind him.

But the fullback was kicking himself for missing a first half try on the television match official's call when he slid into touch.

"Yeah a little bit gutted, I didn't quite back myself. I didn't think I was going to make it when I saw the other guys coming across. By the time I got going it was a bit late."

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