All Blacks wait on Carter

New Zealand are playing a waiting game on Dan Carter's fitness for their Millennium Stadium clash against Wales.

New Zealand are playing a waiting game on Dan Carter's fitness for their Millennium Stadium clash against Wales.

The fly-half superstar has been named to start, but his recovery in time from a calf muscle haematoma is far from certain.

Carter, who has scored 92 points in just five Tests at Wales' expense, suffered the injury during New Zealand's victory over Australia in Tokyo last weekend.

He has not trained fully this week, and Stephen Donald would step in if Carter fails to make it.

"We are managing him through the week and we are hopeful he will be right for Saturday," said All Blacks head coach Graham Henry.

"We will just keep on communicating and see how he is. If he is not right, Stephen Donald will play."

Henry has made six changes from the side that defeated Australia 32-19 five days ago.

Two of them are enforced due to suspensions, with 20-year-old debutant wing Zac Guildford replacing Sitiveni Sivivatu and Wyatt Crockett taking over from prop Tony Woodcock.

Elsewhere, scrum-half Brendon Leonard is preferred to Jimmy Cowan, while lock Jason Eaton replaces Tom Donnelly, flanker Jerome Kaino - a try-scorer against Wales last year - is in for Adam Thomson and Kieran Read earns a start at number eight.

"It is good to be back here again," added former Wales boss Henry.

"We've selected a strong side and we are looking forward to the fixture."

As for making half a dozen changes, Henry added: "We need to know if all these players are up to international standard.

"We are using this game to address one or two of those question marks. It's a big game."

New Zealand have not lost to Wales since 1953, winning 20 Tests in succession and totalling almost 700 points during that time.

Wales though, who led New Zealand 9-6 at half-time last year before conceding 20 unanswered points, are quietly confident this could be their time to start redressing the balance.

But the All Blacks, beaten three times during this year's Tri-Nations, have heard it all before - not just from Wales - and there was a calm air about Henry and his fellow coaches Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith today.

"We've got a policy for the tour," Henry said.

"To enjoy the game and play well is one, and also to make sure 33 players on this tour get an opportunity to play.

"There is no disrespect to Wales - it's a very strong side.

"We picked a side to play against Australia, and we've picked a side to play against Wales."

Like Wales, New Zealand have also been hit by injuries, with the likes of experienced forwards Keven Mealamu and Ali Williams among those who have remained at home.

But it gives an opportunity to other players during the long build-up towards World Cup 2011, when New Zealand will be the host nation.

"The World Cup is a fair way away. There are probably about 10 players at home because of injury, and there may be one or two currently overseas who will come home (for the World Cup)," added Henry.

Hansen, meanwhile, expects Wales to throw everything at New Zealand in the first game of their European tour.

"I am sure the (Wales) players are excited about playing against the All Blacks," said former Wales coach Hansen.

"They chucked everything at us last year - it was a tough game of footie.

"They've got a belief among themselves. They've won two Grand Slams recently and there is a lot of experience.

"One day they will win (against New Zealand) - I just hope it is not on Saturday."

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