Carter adding another weapon to All Blacks arsenal?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011    James Mortimer    Getty Images

Many feel that the drop goal, worth three points, is an underused weapon, especially in knock out tournaments like the World Cup.

Carter made one of his three drop goals, but despite the All Blacks and Crusaders number ten scoring more points for his country than any other player (Jonny Wilkinson has 67 B&I Lions points), he is not known as a drop goal specialist.

His attempts were valiant however, with the first hitting the uprights while the successful third strike was picture perfect.

In his 79 tests Carter has only snapped off two drop goals.

Only Matt Burke (1) and Gavin Hastings (0) have kicked less in the order of merit for leading point’s scorers in world rugby.

In comparison Wilkinson has kicked 33 in test matches, the current record.

Other current players are more prolific, with Ronan O’Gara (15), Stephen Jones (7) and even Matt Giteau (4) using the scoring method more than Carter.

At World Cups they vary with importance.

At the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Wilkinson was the only player who kicked a drop goal, with five overall.

Four years earlier the World Cup winner knocked over eight, while in the same tournament New Zealand born, former Crusaders and Japanese kicker Andy Miller knocked over the longest drop in the tournament’s history, with a fifty plus metre strike against Fiji.

At the 1999 Rugby World Cup, it was indeed a deadly weapon, as England found out to their peril as Jannie de Beer smacked five drop goals over in a single match.

For all of the attacking prowess of the All Blacks, the lack of alleged ability in setting up a drop goal is something that vocal critics have warned against.

Yet Carter told the Press that his efforts were not part of a grand plan.

"No, it is not the reason for going for it against the Chiefs. I just thought it was important in those situations," Carter said.

"It was just one of those moments in a game when I thought the drop goal would put things in our favour so I had a few goes tonight.

"I guess it all helps in the long run – the more you can do it in a game scenario, the more comfortable you feel later."

While Carter did say it had not been a focus recently, he did admit that he dedicated a fair amount of time to drop goals in 2010.

"No, I've not done a lot (this season)," he said.

"I have got a bit of a dodgy ankle and things, and that is sort of stopping from me doing it at training.

"I worked really hard on it last year but I have not had a chance with injuries and things this year which has been frustrating.

"But it is definitely a big part of the game, especially when coming into what lies ahead."