Dan Carter on the unexpected advantage the All Blacks have over South Africa
With just days to go until the two sides compete for the Webb Ellis Cup, former All Black and World Cup winner Dan Carter has highlighted one area where his compatriots might benefit, although it is not immediately obvious.
The fact that the All Blacks have an extra day’s rest seems like one of the biggest advantages, not to mention they are coming away from an untroubling 44-6 win over Argentina compared to South Africa’s slugfest against England. While it seems ostensibly obvious that Ian Foster’s side will profit by having an extra day to physically get in the right condition, Carter said on the Official Rugby World Cup 2023 podcast this week that the extra day is more beneficial mentally.
As a player who benefitted from an extra day’s rest between the semi-finals and the final when the All Blacks won the World Cup in 2015, Carter clearly has experience of the positive effects of an eight-day turnaroud instead of seven (or seven-day turnaroud instead of six in his case). That is because players are effectively given a day to switch off from the pressure and the hype of the week leading up to the final.
“I think the extra day will help in terms of getting away from the game,” the latest inductee into the World Rugby Hall of Fame said.
“When you’ve been together for over two months, the pressures of World Cup play-off games, the world looking at you. They need to really switch off so the extra day will help them to spend time with their families before they push the reset button.”
Instead of discussing the physical benefits the All Blacks might have over the Springboks (or England at the time of speaking), Foster shared the same view as Carter when looking ahead to the final following the victory over the Pumas. He said: “We are focused on ourselves and the extra day gives us chance to have a break mentally.”