Carter returns as All Blacks take on France

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The Independent Online

Dan Carter is the centre of attention as New Zealand prepare to face France in Marseilles tonight. Carter missed the All Blacks' stunning loss to France in Dunedin earlier this year but New Zealand will not have that excuse this time if they come up short in the toughest test of their tour.

The fly-half, who earlier this year saw a spell at Perpignan cut short by an Achilles injury, is a keen student of the French game and is looking forward to facing it head on.

''Over the last couple of years, there's been a great rivalry with the French and it's always been an extremely tough challenge,'' he said. ''I saw this game against France as being the most difficult and challenging. And when you come up against those challenges you want to really lift yourself and play the best.

''Our season's been a bit up and down but we've finished strongly over the last four or five games, so we really want to finish on a high note.''

France enter the game on the back of a 43-5 mauling of Samoa, but know they face something entirely different.