Carter credits colleagues after securing record

Wales 25 New Zealand 37

The 28-year-old passed the previous mark of 1,178, held by Jonny Wilkinson, when he knocked over a monster 49-metre penalty during the early stages of yesterday’s 37-25 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium, a victory which clinched a third Grand Slam in six seasons for the All Blacks.

The Crusaders star was quick to pay tribute to the men around him afterwards, saying: “I never thought I would get to these highs (points). It is something that is pretty special, a real achievement, and I give a lot of tributes to my team-mates for giving me the opportunities to get so many points.

“It’s all about the team - I am just very fortunate to be part of a very special team like the All Blacks. It was a pretty proud moment. It is not something that really drives me, but looking back it is something I am proud of.”

Although that early penalty gave Carter the record, he did not enjoy his best day with the boot in Cardiff as he missed four of his five shots at goal in the first half to keep Wales in the game. He responded with four from four after the break though, including two unerring touchline conversions.

“When you start missing a few, you just really back the hard work you have been doing, and I reaped the rewards for that in the second half,” he said.

Although New Zealand eventually prevailed by five tries to one, Saturday’s display was the least impressive of their end-of-year tour.

They were not as efficient as usual at the breakdown, as Wales breakaways Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate made their collective presence felt, while their line-out stuttered and their scrum came under pressure.

Wales pulled the score back to trail 13-12 at one stage, with All Blacks replacement Daniel Braid in the sin bin, and then 23-18, as the tourists looked vulnerable.

But New Zealand weathered both those storms by hitting back with tries from wings Hosea Gear and Isaia Toeava, created by terrible errors from Lee Byrne and James Hook respectively.

And the Cantabrian hailed the character shown by the tourists when under the cosh. “The way we finished that last 10 minutes just shows the character of the side,” he insisted.

“The Welsh team put us under a lot of pressure, but we managed to score tries at crucial times. This has been a fantastic year and a successful one. It puts us in good stead for next year’s World Cup.”

Gear, who has been one of the stars of the trip after scoring five tries in four appearances, joined Carter in paying tribute to Wales. The Hurricanes speed merchant admitted Warren Gatland’s side had proven difficult to shake off until tries from Toeava and replacement prop John Afoa late on.

“A Grand Slam tour doesn’t happen very often. The boys are really proud, and there was a bit of celebration going on in the changing room,” Gear said.

“I thought Wales played really well. They did their homework on us, they were really physical – which is what we expected – and they really put up a fight.

“They were in there, pretty much through the whole game, probably until the last 10 minutes, so we knew we had to dig deep. Wales showed a lot of positives out there. They can only get better and improve.”

Scorers for Wales: Try: Byrne. Con: S. Jones. Pens: S. Jones 6.

WALES: L. Byrne; G. North, T. Shanklin, J. Hook, T. James; S. Jones, M. Phillips; G. Jenkins, M. Rees, A. Jones; B. Davies, A. Jones; D. Lydiate, S. Warburton, R. Jones.

Replacements: A Powell for Lydiate (48), J. Thomas for R. Jones (48), M. Williams for Warburton (75), R. Rees for G. Jenkins (78); P. James for Phillips (78), A. Bishop for Shanklin (79).Scorers for New Zealand: Tries: Gear 2, Muliaina, Toeava, Afoa. Cons: Carter 3. Pens: Carter 2.

NEW ZEALAND: M. Muliaina; I. Toeava, C. Smith, S.B. Williams, H. Gear; D. Carter, J. Cowan; T. Woodcock, K. Mealamu, O. Franks; B. Thorn, S. Whitelock; J. Kaino, R. McCaw, K. Read.

Replacements: D Braid for Read (37), M Nonu for Williams (49), A Boric for Whitelock (55), J Afoa for Franks (62), A Hore for Mealamu (75), S Donald for Carter (78), A Ellis for Cowan (78).

Referee: A. Lewis (Ireland).

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