Tag Archives: achilles

Bahrain Grand Prix 2013: Lewis Hamilton 37 points clear of Jenson Button – Phil Duncan

The Chequered Flag: Hamilton streaks clear of Button as McLaren continue to struggle

with arguably the most complete package on the grid while a top-10 finish for Mercedes became as rare as a nun in a bikini. We mustn’t forget that in the final six races of last season, the Silver Arrows managed only one points-scoring finish when Michael Schumacher ended his F1 career with a seventh place at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

he’d gathered 43.

At the same stage this year, he is 10th in the championship with just 13 points. Unlucky for some. Unlucky for Button.

For his old sparring partner however, this season, in terms of points attained, ranks as a better start for Hamilton than both the 2010 and 2012 seasons.

Indeed with a total of 50 already on the championship table, the 2008 world champion has collated a bigger haul than the man who he replaced – that’s Michael Schumacher for those of you with a short-term memory – managed in 20 outings for the German manufacturer last season.

Off the pace: Button and McLaren have endured a slow start to the season

Promising start: Hamilton has already amassed more points than Schumacher did in his whole Mercedes career

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You can follow Phil at: @PhilDuncanF1

I cannot recall a time when Hamilton was so happy to finish fifth, but the British star knows Bahrain is Mercedes’ achilles heel, and the fact that he leaves the Gulf Kingdom with a decent haul of points after a troubled weekend, will provide him and his team with a major boost as Formula One heads back to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks time.

We should make no bones about it, Hamilton can fight for this year’s title. But whether he will be able to rival Vettel, whose performance yesterday illustrated exactly why he is a triple world champion, remains to be seen.

The same however, probably cannot be said of Button. The McLaren is already beginning to look like a better-tamed beast than the unruly animal which was unleashed in Melbourne over a month ago. But that said, the British star is already 64 points behind Vettel.

Barcelona will provide the Woking-based team with the acid test; a poor weekend in Spain usually translates to a poor season.

And Button, who has finished on the Spanish podium only twice in 12 previous attempts, will want his focus in Barcelona to be on the sharp end of the pack and not banging wheels with team-mate Sergio Perez while fighting for the menial places as in Bahrain.

Flashpoint: Perez and Button were locked in battle

Flashpoint: Perez and Button were locked in battle

Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix are already turning their attention to next season and the 10th anniversary of their hotly-disputed race.

‘We are looking at many options,’ Zayed Al Zayani, chairman of the event, told AUTOSPORT today.

‘A night race is one of them, but it is not the only one,’ he continued. ‘It is our tenth race and our tenth anniversary, so we want to do something different.’

It is also being suggested that the race could be moved to the opening weekend of the season. I for one hope this isn’t the case.

Australia should play host to every Formula One curtain raiser in my opinion, but I guess money will talk…

Five more years: Ecclestone is ready to sign a new deal with Bahrain

Five more years: Ecclestone is ready to sign a new deal with Bahrain

Driver of the Day

So close, yet so far. Paul Di Resta was on course to become the first Scottish driver on the podium in almost five years before he was overtaken by Romain Grosjean in the closing stages of yesterday’s race.

Nevertheless, it ranked as an impressive weekend for the 27-year-old who looks to have the bit between his teeth in his third season with Force India.

The Scot has made no secret of his desire to race for a bigger team, and after being snubbed by McLaren, what better way to bounce back than by doing your talking on the track.

Great Scot: Di Resta finished in fourth

Great Scot: Di Resta finished in fourth

Nigel Levine wins silver medal in 400 metres at the European Indoors championships

Levine wins 400m silver medal in Gothenburg but Meadows misses out

after suffering an achilles injury in September 2011, but had targeted a medal in the event she won in Paris two years ago. The Wigan athlete was only awarded her title two weeks ago after Russia's Yevgeniya Zinurova received a backdated doping ban.

Meadows said: 'I feel a bit silly to say I feel disappointed that I came fourth – it’s an amazing achievement – but I’ve tried to keep my lack of preparation at the back of my head. If I stood on the track thinking that, I probably wouldn’t have even got to the final.

'A medal would have been a bonus and I was good enough to get a medal. I’ve let myself down a little bit tactically but I’m fit and healthy and in one piece and it’s a way forward for the summer.'

Scott Parker desperate win an FA Cup winners medal

Parker's desperate to make a mark in the Cup he loves and add to his medal collection

By
Ian Stafford

PUBLISHED:

22:45 GMT, 26 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:45 GMT, 27 January 2013

Scott Parker, 32 and with just one League Cup winners’ medal to show for 16 years in football’s top flight, insists that he is one player who still takes the FA Cup seriously.

‘I love the FA Cup as a competition,’ said the Spurs midfielder as he prepared for today’s fourth-round trip to face Leeds United. ‘It’s something I’m desperate to win.’

Parker’s solitary piece of silverware was won with Chelsea in 2005, though he actually missed the final in Cardiff through injury. Chelsea won the Premier League the following year but Parker missed out on a winner’s medal because he had not played in the minimum 10 matches.

Cup of joy: Scott Parker is desperate to win the FA Cup

Cup of joy: Scott Parker is desperate to win the FA Cup

Last year’s losing FA Cup semi-final, playing for Spurs against Chelsea, was as good as it gets, he says, which is why he is taking this afternoon’s fourth-round trip to Leeds very seriously indeed.

‘That semi-final defeat still rankles and I know I don’t have too long left to do it,’ admitted Parker, just back from a five-month lay-off following an achilles operation in the summer.

‘I understand why a top-four finish in the League is the priority for a club like Tottenham, but for me the FA Cup is just as important. Within three or four games you’re right in the business end of the competition and you can taste Wembley.

‘Maybe four or five years ago the competition was beginning to fizzle out a bit, with clubs sending weakened teams out to play, but this isn’t the case so much anymore and I, for one, am pleased about that.

‘There’s nothing better to play in or watch than a good old-fashioned English cup-tie between the big boys and a team from a lower division trying to seize the moment. The Premier League is great, of course, but my early memories of football are all to do with the FA Cup.’

Hard time: Parker won the a League Cup winners medal while at Chelsea

Hard time: Parker won the a League Cup winners medal while at Chelsea

A lifelong Spurs fan, Parker’s earliest recollection of the FA Cup was watching his beloved team lose the 1987 final to Coventry.

‘It’s not a happy memory,’ he says. ‘My favourite player at the time was Nico Claesen, but he was on the bench that day and came on too late for my liking. Then I watched them beat Forest in 1991 when Gazza was up to his tricks.

‘Even though I was far too young at the time to remember Spurs winning back-to-back Cups in the early Eighties, I did end up knowing all the words to Chas and Dave’s Tottenham songs, and had them as records.’

Snow joke: Parker training at Spurs ahead of the Leeds game

Snow joke: Parker training at Spurs ahead of the Leeds game

Being the football romantic that he is, Parker is also full of admiration for today’s opponents, Leeds, and recalls one happy memory nearer the start of his long career.

‘I scored an injury-time winner at Elland Road for Charlton after a mazy run,’ he says. ‘I don’t score many so that one has stuck. Some of the foreign lads in the Spurs team today may not understand how big a club Leeds still are.

‘They’ll look at the Championship table and not understand, but they will when they run out at Elland Road. There’s no way a team of Leeds’s stature should be where they are. To me they are still a massive, massive club, and you can expect the ground to be rocking.

‘Occasionally in the third and fourth round you can turn up and win being at 70 or 80 per cent. Well you can’t at Leeds. We’ll have to be at our best.

‘It will be a tough game. Their manager, Neil Warnock, will get them going and if we fall short of our best Leeds will win, which is why the television cameras are there. They sense there could be an upset. We’ll have to make sure it doesn’t happen.’

Mousa Dembele doesn"t fear for his place when Scott Parker is fit again

Great Scot's return is super for Spurs! Dembele doesn't fear for his place when Parker is fit again

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 18 December 2012

GREAT SCOTT! PARKER MAKES GOALSCORING RETURN

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY

Mousa Dembele does not feel threatened by Scott Parker's return from injury.

And the Tottenham midfielder believes tough competition for places in central midfield will benefit the team.

Parker came on in injury time against Swansea on Sunday, his first action since representing England against Italy at the Euros in June.

Dembele doesn't feel threatened by Parker's return from injury

Dembele doesn't feel threatened by Parker's return from injury

Following that match he had achilles surgery and was out for seven months.

Since then Andre Villas-Boas brought in Dembele who has struck up a partnership with Sandro in the middle.

And with the emergence of youngster Tom Carroll to the first team and Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore also available has meant competition is fierce.

But Dembele said: '(Parker's return is) very important. If you see him in training you can see he can be very important, he’s a very organised guy, very professional.

'He knows what he can do and I think he is an unbelievable player as well so it’s good for the team that there are a lot of rivals (in midfield) because it makes everybody sharp.

'I know if I play one bad game then Jake Livermore, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Tom Carroll, there are a lot of good players who are behind me to come in and who can do well.

'So we have to keep playing and that keeps the level high in this team.'

Scott Parker scores for Tottenham reserves

Great Scott! Tottenham's Parker makes goalscoring return in U21 match against Villa

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UPDATED:

00:10 GMT, 18 December 2012

Scott Parker continued his steady return to football by netting for Tottenham's Under 21s this evening.

The England international, who is being gradually eased back into football after an achilles injury, scored on the stroke of half-time as part of the Tottenham Under 21 outfit who travelled to Aston Villa this evening.

Parker, who scored Spurs' second goal in a convincing 3-0 win, made a cameo appearance on Sunday for Tottenham's senior squad when they beat Swansea 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

Back in the goals: Scott Parker scored for Tottenham's Under 21s when they travelled to Aston Villa

The 32-year-old had not played for Tottenham all season before Sunday's victory, and was only handed a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele late in the match.

The former Charlton, Chelsea and West Ham midfielder was given a start this evening for Tottenham's Under 21s.

Having recently returned to football after picking up the injury with Roy Hodgson's England team at Euro 2012, Parker wasted little time back on the pitch tonight by coolly slotting home after 45 minutes.

When fully fit, Parker still faces a tough task of forcing his way back into the Tottenham first team.

Dembele has looked like an incredible signing since his arrival from Fulham this summer, and Sandro has proved to be an integral member of Villas-Boas' squad with some stellar performances this term.

Meanwhile,Tottenham left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto could also be fit to play against Stoke at home on Saturday after being out for three months with a knee injury.

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Welcome back: Parker received a couple of minutes' football when he replaced Mousa Dembele against Swansea

Jonny Wilkinson handed Lions boost

Wilkinson handed Lions boost but veteran faces stiff challenge to force his way Down Under

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UPDATED:

12:02 GMT, 13 December 2012

Jonny Wilkinson has been given fresh hope about his chances of capping a glittering Test career with a third and final Lions tour next summer, but he will have to force his way past two younger English No 10s to earn a squad place.

The World Cup-winning fly half retired from international rugby with England at the end of last year, but at the age of 33 he has been in vintage form for his French club, Toulon, this season.

Having revealed that he is driven by a desire to return to Australia with the Lions, the initial response was far from promising.

Roaring back: Jonny Wilkinson could be in contention to feature for the Lions

Roaring back: Jonny Wilkinson could be in contention to feature for the Lions

When head coach Warren Gatland was asked last month if he had spoken to Wilkinson, his reply was a curt, decisive 'no'.

However, when the Kiwi revealed his coaching line-up in Edinburgh, one of his assistants provided the iconic English stand off with some welcome encouragement to believe that the door is open to him.

Rob Howley formed a Test half-back partnership with Wilkinson on the last Lions tour of Australia in 2001 and he said: 'He (Wilkinson) is playing in a good team at Toulon, who are going pretty well in the Heineken Cup, and Warren has said that all players who are in contention will be looked at.

'I'm sure Toulon will be in the quarter-finals and they are the games you need to be playing – quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Heineken Cup, if you're not playing international rugby.

'We have to see the players under pressure in those sort of situations.'

The serious Achilles injury which ended Wales No 10 Rhys Priestland's season has created an extra Lions fly half vacancy, as the Scarlets playmaker surely would have featured in the squad.

On form: Wilkinson is playing some of his best rugby with Toulon

On form: Wilkinson is playing some of his best rugby with Toulon

In theory, Wilkinson should come into the equation given his prodigious experience with England, and with the Lions in 2001 and 2005, along with his enduring goal-kicking class and defensive clout.

Furthermore, he is revered and feared in equal measure in Australia, to this day.

Yet, he has two compatriots ahead of him at present in the tussle to claim squad places along with the prime Irish candidate, Jonny Sexton.

Howley said: 'I enjoyed Sexton's performances during the autumn series, and the likes of Owen (Farrell) and Toby (Flood). They are all different styles of 10 and there will be a lot of analysis on those players in the next three or four months.

'It's competition, and that's what brings the best out of them. None of them have been on a Lions tour, so it will be interesting to watch them under the microscope during a Six Nations, in a Lions year. Particularly as a No 10, a key ingredient in performances is how they react under pressure.'

Meanwhile, Gatland says the management decision to leave Shaun Edwards from his coaching team emulated Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's management.

England's Andy Farrell will be the Lions' defence coach in Australia in 2013 rather than the Wales assistant.

'It was an agonising decision – very tough,' Gatland told BBC Radio Wales.

'But you look at someone like Alex Ferguson. He has always been prepared to keep things fresh and make changes.'

Rhys Priestland out for season with achilles injury

Heartbreak for Priestland as Wales playmaker is ruled out of Six Nations and Lions tour with snapped achilles

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UPDATED:

15:55 GMT, 11 December 2012

Wales and Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland has suffered a devastating injury blow that will rule him out for the rest of this season.

Priestland, 25, will miss the entire RBS 6 Nations Championship after snapping his achilles tendon during the Scarlets’ Heineken Cup clash against Exeter three days ago.

Priestland, who has 22 caps, also looks set to miss out on the British and Lions’ tour of Australia next summer in the latest injury setback for Wales as they prepare to launch their Six Nations title defence.

Crocked: Priestland is treated before being stretchered off at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday

Crocked: Priestland is treated before being stretchered off at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday

Crocked: Priestland is treated before being stretchered off at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday

Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby revealed the extent of Priestland’s injury at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Wales’ recent autumn Test campaign was riddled by injuries as they lost four successive games against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

And Rob Howley, in interim coaching charge for the Six Nations campaign while Wales head coach Warren Gatland concentrates full-time on heading up Lions tour preparations, has been dealt another major setback with news of Priestland’s injury.

Prop Aaron Jarvis is already out of the Six Nations campaign, while lock Alun-Wyn Jones and flanker Dan Lydiate are set to play only limited parts, at best, while they continue their respective recoveries from shoulder and ankle trouble.

Out of form: Priestland had been struggling as Wales lost seven in a row this year

Out of form: Priestland had been struggling as Wales lost seven in a row this year

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny and centre Jamie Roberts, meanwhile, are battling for full fitness ahead of the tournament, which Wales start against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2, while wing George North (hip injury) has not played since the Samoa game almost four weeks ago.

Priestland was a driving force behind Wales’ outstanding push to reach the World Cup semi-finals in New Zealand last year, form which he carried over into last season’s Six Nations when Wales were crowned Grand Slam champions.

Although the latter half of 2012 has seen him struggle to reproduce that form, he remained a key member of the Wales team, starting three of the autumn games and going on as a substitute against Samoa.

With Priestland sidelined, Howley would appear to face a choice between Perpignan’s James Hook and Ospreys No 10 Dan Biggar for the Six Nations campaign.

Happy memories: Priestland helped Wales to Grand Slam success earlier this year

Happy memories: Priestland helped Wales to Grand Slam success earlier this year

And there was every chance that Priestland would have made the Lions tour, a dream that now appears to have been cruelly shattered.

Priestland’s injury is to his left Achilles, with the Scarlets confirming that he underwent surgery on Tuesday morning.

Easterby said: 'It’s a big blow for Rhys and for our region to lose a player of his quality and influence in our team.

'He was coming through well in the last couple of (Wales) games of the autumn, put in a strong performance against Australia and was making a real impact on our game against Exeter, so it is very difficult for him to take.

The contenders: Either James Hook (left) or Dan Biggar (right) are likely to replace Priestland

The contenders: Either James Hook (left) or Dan Biggar (right) are likely to replace Priestland

The contenders: Either James Hook (left) or Dan Biggar (right) are likely to replace Priestland

'But he will get plenty of support from here throughout the injury period.'

Scarlets medical chief Andy Walker added: 'The surgery was undertaken this morning at the Vale Hospital and has gone very well.

'It’s a difficult injury, but we have been fortunate to have had the injury assessed and repaired surgically so promptly, and by a very experienced ankle and foot specialist.

'Rhys’ surgery was performed by a new keyhole surgery technique which is non-invasive and will aid his recovery and allow him to get into rehab with our medical team at a quicker stage.

'The anticipated time off the field is around six months, but it all depends on the individual and how his rehab goes in the interim.'

Cardiff 24 Montpellier 35: Blues out of Heineken Cup

Cardiff 24 Montpellier 35: European dream over for Blues as Williams sees red

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 9 December 2012

Fourteen-man Cardiff had their Heineken Cup aspirations ended as they fell to a third straight Pool Six defeat at the hands of Montpellier.

Teenage fly-half Rhys Patchell slotted seven penalties and a drop goal for the home side, who had scrum-half Lloyd Williams sent off after 25 minutes for a tip tackle on opposite number Benoit Paillaugue.

Pierre Berard, Mamuka Gorgodze and Timoci Nagusa all crossed for Montpellier, with the classy Paillaugue kicking 20 points.

Godzilla: Mamuka Gorgodze goes over for Montpellier

Godzilla: Mamuka Gorgodze goes over for Montpellier

The Blues' defeat adds to the gloom that has enveloped Welsh rugby, with the regions managing a collective one win from nine Heineken Cup matches to go with the national side's run of seven straight defeats.

The injury-ravaged Blues, without Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Bradley Davies and a host of others, did make a good fist of the opening quarter against a Montpellier side resting several of their first-choice names.

Patchell had the hosts on the board inside four minutes with a penalty and fell just short with a long-distance effort just seconds earlier.

But there were already early warning signs for the Cardiff scrum, an Achilles heel throughout the season.

An emphatic drive from the Montpellier pack allowed Paillaugue to slot a monster 50-metre penalty, and another strong shove gave the scrum-half his second three-pointer after Patchell had briefly put the hosts back ahead.

Patchell, showing a good degree of composure for one so young, replied with another penalty to make it 9-6 at the end of a scrappy opening quarter lacking in creativity.

No way through: Alex Cuthbert is halted by Pierre Barard

No way through: Alex Cuthbert is halted by Pierre Barard

But the Blues' hopes were dealt a major blow when Wales international Williams was dismissed.

The home crowd howled their derision at referee John Lacey, but the official was left with little choice after Williams lifted opposite number Paillaugue and dropped him on to the back of his neck after the ball had squirted out of a Blues scrum.

Paillaugue dusted himself down to level the scores from the resulting penalty, only for Patchell to again respond, this time with a well-taken drop goal.

But the home side's numerical disadvantage soon told as Montpellier built patiently through the phases to work an overlap on the left for wing Berard to cross, with the reliable boot of Paillaugue adding the conversion from the touchline.

Patchell kept Cardiff in it with yet another penalty, but when Dafydd Hewitt came in at the side of the ruck Paillaugue struck to leave the visitors 19-15 to the good at the break.

Try time: Timoci Nagusa scores Montpellier's third and final try

Try time: Timoci Nagusa scores Montpellier's third and final try

The Blues turned round with a strong wind behind them and Patchell used it to bring them within a point with a huge three-pointer from almost his own 10-yard line.

Montpellier should have made the game safe 15 minutes into the second half when Yoan Audrin picked off Patchell's pass.

The young fly-half did brilliantly to haul the winger down, but when the ball was recycled the visitors had a huge overlap, only for Gorgodze's final pass to Berard to be ruled forward.

Paillaugue did at least re-establish the four-point lead with his latest penalty, and the French side's second try followed with 14 minutes to go.

Fly-half Santiago Fernandez gathered in Paillaugue's kick to take Montpellier deep into Cardiff territory. Desperate scrambling defence kept out Berard, but Gorgodze stretched out to dot down through the ruck.

The hosts battled gamely and Patchell quickly slotted another two penalties to get the Blues back to within three points.

But Paillaugue steadied any French nerves before replacement wing Nagusa sealed the win by finishing smartly in the corner.

Tomas Rosicky blames Arsenal form on possession

Rosicky blames Arsenal's slump on lack of possession as Gunner face crisis

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UPDATED:

23:48 GMT, 5 December 2012

Tomas Rosicky has blamed Arsenal's poor start to the season
on their inability to keep possession like Arsene Wenger's teams of old.

The Arsenal midfielder questioned his team's confidence and
said he could understand the fans' frustration after the club's worst start to
the season for 18 years. Arsenal lie tenth in the Barclays Premier League with
only 21 points from their first 15 games.

Rosicky, who started his first match this season and scored
in Arsenal's 2-1 defeat by Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night,
said: 'Sometimes we don't keep the ball as we used to. It is definitely a
matter of confidence. You can see there are more back passes than we used to
do. You have to gain confidence by winning the next game.

Lashing out: Tomas Rosicky (centre) criticised Arsenal's possession

Lashing out: Tomas Rosicky (centre) criticised Arsenal's possession

'I can understand the frustration as I am an Arsenal fan as
well. We all have to stick together. That is what we did last season when
everyone wrote us off and we came back stronger.

'It will be difficult, there is no doubt about it, but we
are OK to do it again. We have to sort it out quickly.'

The statistics back up
Rosicky's observations, with Arsenal averaging 59.3 per cent of possession in
the league so far this season compared to 60.1 per cent in their last campaign.
Wenger's side are making and completing more passes, too, but are less
clinical, with just one goal in their last three league games.

Rosicky impressed on his 45-minute comeback in Athens after
aggravating an achilles tendon problem while playing for the Czech Republic at
last summer's European Championships.

Gutted: Arsenal lost to Olympiacos to miss out on top spot

Gutted: Arsenal lost to Olympiacos to miss out on top spot

The midfielder said the injury was a particularly
frustrating setback and claimed he has to 'fight constantly' to avoid being
kicked by opponents during games.

'How can you defend yourself when someone kicks you,' said
Rosicky. 'It is frustrating for me to pick up another injury. During the season
I had already received a kick on my achilles and then I got finished off in the
Euros.

'For the position I play, I always have someone on my back
and with the position I have, I am often receiving the ball with someone behind
me. How can I defend myself 'It is part of the game and I have to take it. It
is difficult for me. I have to fight constantly and that is what I am able to
do.'

New Zealand star Dan Carter winning fitness battle for England showdown

New Zealand fly-half Carter winning battle to be fit for England showdown

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UPDATED:

15:08 GMT, 27 November 2012

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is confident he will be fit for Saturday's clash with England at Twickenham.

Carter missed last Saturday's 33-10
defeat by Wales with achilles and calf problems, but expects to return
for the All Blacks' final match of the year.

Welcome sight: New Zealand's Dan Carter (C) during training

Welcome sight: New Zealand's Dan Carter (C) during training

'Hopefully I'll be ready, nothing's changed over the last couple of days,” he said.

'The plan was to get through training and it was pretty light today, I didn't go over 50%. I got through it well.

'We're looking after it well and doing everything right to be ready for this weekend.

Just the ticket: Carter out in London on Tuesday

Just the ticket: Carter out in London on Tuesday

'I'm pretty confident I'll be right to play, I just need some positive thinking.

'It's the last game of the year and I want to be part of it.'