Stephen Larkham insists Australia will face the greatest five-eighth of all time when they clash with New Zealand in Saturday’s World Cup final at Twickenham.
Dan Carter will make his 112th Test appearance as the All Blacks’ playmaker in chief when the world champions seek to become the first team to defend their crown by lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third time.
The 33-year-old may no longer be the magician who left the British and Irish Lions spellbound in 2005 but backs coach Larkham – himself a distinguished former No.10 – believes his position among the all-time greats is already guaranteed.
“Dan Carter will be number one in the pantheon. Clearly number one,” said Larkham, a Test centurion who steered the Wallabies to World Cup glory in 1999.
“Probably over here in England Jonny Wilkinson will be number one, but in the southern hemisphere Dan is ranked number one.
“He’s shown really good composure during this tournament. His skills haven’t dropped off at all, he picks and chooses when he wants to run and he does that really well. He’s combining with his team-mates very well.”