Dan Carter’s Super Rugby Aotearoa predictions

Dan Carter’s Super Rugby Aotearoa predictions

All Blacks legend Dan Carter is tipping the chastened Chiefs to provide the biggest threat to Super Rugby Aotearoa favourites the Crusaders and Blues.

The 2021 season kicks off on Friday night with a South Island derby between the Highlanders and Crusaders under the roof in Dunedin, before the Hurricanes and Blues square off in Wellington on Saturday (all matches live on Stan Sport).

The recently retired Carter was asked to preview the world class competition on Stan Sport’s first edition of Rugby Heaven this week.

“Obviously hard to go past the Crusaders,” Carter said of the team he scored a record 1708 points for in 141 games between 2003-15, winning three titles.

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Coach Scott Robertson of the Crusaders breakdances around the Super Rugby trophy. (Getty)

“It’s a team pretty close to my heart and just the form that they’ve had over the last few years with Razor (coach Scott Robertson) – I’m sure that they’ll continue that.”

The Crusaders have won a remarkable four straight Super Rugby titles under the charismatic Robertson, including last year’s inaugural Aotearoa competition.

But Carter also obtained an intimate understanding of the fast improving Blues, after stunning red-and-black diehards by signing with the Auckland-based club last season.

He didn’t play a game, but the high profile waterboy learnt plenty.

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Blues waterboy Dan Carter during a Super Rugby Aotearoa match last year. (Getty)

“I had a wee stint with the Blues and just realised how much young talent there is there,” Carter said.

“(Coach) Leon MacDonald has done a great job there.

“He’s got them in contention and they’ll really be pushing the Crusaders this year.”

But Carter’s dark horse was the Chiefs, an 0-8 Aotearoa flop under British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland last year.

Gatland’s Lions commitments mean Clayton McMillan will fill in as coach this year.

“The other one actually is the Chiefs,” Carter said.

Sam Cane of the Chiefs leads the team onto the field at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva. (Getty)

“They’ll be disappointed by their Super Rugby Aotearoa last year so they’ve got a wee point to prove.

“A fit Sam Cane, a fit (Anton) Lienert-Brown, Damian McKenzie – if they get all those guys on the field they’re going to be extremely dangerous as well.”


HIGHLANDERS v CRUSADERS, Friday 5.05pm AEDT at Forsyth Barr Stadium

Live, exclusive and ad-free on Stan Sport

HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Solomon Alaimalo, Connor Garden-Bachop, Ngantungane Punivai, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Mitch Hunt, Aaron Smith (co-c), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, Shannon Frizell, Jack Regan, Josh Dickson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (co-c), Daniel Lienert-Brown

Reserves: Liam Coltman, Josh Hohneck, Jeff Thwaites, Bryn Evans, Liam Squire, Folau Fakatava, Josh Ioane, Hugh Renton

CRUSADERS (15-1): Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Dallas McLeod, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Ethan Blackadder, Samuel Whitelock, Scott Barrett (c), Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody

Reserves: Brodie McAlister, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Quinten Strange, Sione Havili Talitui, Mitchell Drummond, Fergus Burke, Chay Fihaki

New Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea has a laugh with brother Julian, who will start on the wing. (Getty)

HURRICANES v BLUES, Saturday 5.05pm AEDT at Sky Stadium

Live, exclusive and ad-free on Stan Sport

HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Wes Goosen, Billy Proctor, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Jonathan Taumateine, Devan Flanders, Ardie Savea (c), Vaea Fifita, Scott Scrafton, James Blackwell, Tyrel Lomax, Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong

Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Xavier Numia, Alex Fidow, Reed Prinsep, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Luke Campbell, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayasi

BLUES (15-1): Stephen Perofeta, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Sam Nock, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Nepo Laulala, Kurt Eklund, James Lay

Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tuungafasi, Josh Goodhue, Tom Robinson, Adrian Chiat, Jonathan Ruru, Taniela Tele’a

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