New Zealand's national rugby team, the All Blacks, have been the heroes of their nation for as long as anyone can remember. The All Blacks' current star player, and one of the finest rugby players in the world, is a certain Dan Carter.
It was no surprise, then, to see the name Dan Carter featured prominently on the sports pages of local newspapers in Wellington on Friday. But as it happened, it was a different Dan Carter in the spotlight this time.
"" laughed Danielle Carter of the England U-17 women's team, whose two coolly-taken goals helped the Lionesses to a stunning 3-0 triumph over Brazil on Thursday. "I'm trying not to get above myself, trying to just stay grounded and play my own game," she added.
Fifteen-year-old Carter, who plays for Leyton Orient, had already proved her worth in the qualifying competition, scoring twice against Czech Republic on the way to the finals. And despite being one of the youngest players in the England squad, Thursday's game showed how crucial she is to coach Lois Fidler's system, as she held the ball up with aplomb and laid passes off neatly for, among others, England's two flying wingers Lauren Bruton and Lucy Staniforth.
"It's a good system that Lois [Fidler] has, and it caused Brazil some problems," observed Carter, who was also full of praise for her two companions in the forward line. "Those two [Bruton and Staniforth] are so quick, and they really 'do or die' for the team."
The England team have found themselves very much at home in English-speaking New Zealand, and Carter is no exception. "[Wellington] is a nice place, with nice people," she observed. "It's a bit windy...but I'm coping with that!"
Nigeria are up next for England on Sunday, and Carter is sure to play a pivotal role once again. "They're physically strong," she commented, after watching the Nigerians open their campaign with a win against Korea Republic. "But hopefully our plan will be enough to overcome them." And the nature of that plan? Carter merely smiled...