Dan Carter on 1,598 goals scored in 24 hours for charity: “OK, it seems doable” | Dan Carter

When Dan Carter left international rugby he was rightly proud of his 1,598 test points. Ask him what he thinks of them on Friday afternoon.

This Thursday, at 7 p.m. local time, Carter will take to the familiar ground of Eden Park in Auckland and start scoring goals again. Only this time, he’s aiming to land 1,598 of them, one for each of his test points, a record that surpasses the next best (by one Jonny Wilkinson) of 352.

He gave himself 24 hours to complete the task. Expect him to curse his own prowess with every kick past 2pm local time – around when he should top Wilkinson’s tally. He still has five hours left.

Carter uses his 24-hour kickathon to raise funds for Unicef’s Water, Sanitation and Health (Wash) program in New Zealand and the Pacific. “I really like numbers,” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I’ve been a Unicef ​​Ambassador for about seven years and passionate about enriching children’s lives, so I started my own fund, the DC10 fund.

His passion for helping children is well placed, given that his wife, New Zealand hockey international Honor Carter, gave birth to a fourth son in June last year. Carter feels he is aware on the sleep deprivation front; otherwise, there’s no training manual for him here because, well, no one has ever tried to score 1,598 goals in a single session.

“When I first started thinking about it, I wanted to see how long it would take me to score 150 goals. It took 45 minutes, but I shot a quad and I had blisters all over my feet. So I I thought back. That’s when I found 1,598 in 24 hours, which equates to just over 66 per hour. About one kick per minute. OK, sounds doable.

All is relative. The ability to achieve this feat for the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game could have been enhanced by this quadruple strain. While recovering, he resorted to training with his less favored right foot, which gave him the idea of ​​kicking goals with either foot to distribute the load.

In tribute to his father, who had always taught him the importance of being able to throw either foot, Carter’s final test points, Beauden Barrett’s conversion of the try one minute from time during the 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham, were kicked off with his right foot. He took that from 10m, in front of the posts, but will kick it further this week, just beyond the 22nd.

Dan Carter works for Unicef ​​and created his own fund to help children. Photography: UNICEF

“The Gardener at Eden Park dreads it. Someone is kicking goals from the same spot on the precious turf for 24 hours, but I have to save my legs. I can’t kick them 50 yards or in the corners.

That said, Carter is willing to take a chance if a potential sponsor’s bid is high enough. Otherwise, it will focus on survival. Along with an army of volunteers to pick up the balls and put them into play (with strict instructions, mind you, on how he likes it), there will be a team of pals to keep him alive. Barrett, Richie McCaw and Grant Fox are among the All Blacks who will come through, while Johnny Sexton, Marcus Smith, Finn Russell and Romain Ntamack will be linked by video from the north to help him through the New Zealand night.

Sexton plans to visit in person in July with the highly anticipated three-test Irish tour of New Zealand. The All Blacks find themselves in the virtually unprecedented position of having lost back-to-back Tests in the north, the first of which was their third loss to Ireland in five Tests, having never lost to them before.

“It’s just the round of testing the All Blacks need,” Carter explains, “because there are a few people asking questions, as happens every time an All Black team loses a game. I was really impressed with Ireland’s willingness to play ball in hand.

These are just some of the ingredients for the delicious prospect of next year’s Rugby World Cup in France. The international game has never been more competitive, with France’s grand slam propelling New Zealand to third place in the world rankings, however low. A win for Ireland in the first Test, at Eden Park, would take them to a new “low” of fourth.

“At a World Cup, you normally choose two or three teams that are likely to win it,” Carter explains. “Next year that number could be six or seven. It’s so exciting to have so many teams capable of being number one. There’s no real dominance between the northern and southern hemispheres. It’s a very level grounding and it’s an exciting time for rugby.

The balance is exquisite, but also delicate. Below Test rugby, the dynamic is changing, with the disbanding of the former Super Rugby. Carter won’t be drawn to governance issues but, in response to the worrying drift of South African teams to Europe, he simply says: “I think it’s crucial that we continue to play against South Africa. South, the national team in particular.”

If anyone knows the balance, Dan Carter is that person. As the hours tick down to Friday and ball after ball demands kicking, he will call on all those years to make rugby look so easy at Eden Park and far beyond. He often spoke of the kicks as a meditation for him, his place of happiness. I hope he finds a transcendental state, at hour 24.

Follow Dan Carter’s kickathon live stream and donate to the DC10 fund at dancarter.com/kickathon

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