Between them they have scored 1503 international points. Arguably they are the two best out-halves currently in world rugby. So it is only naturally that some of the focus for Saturday’s Test match falls on the shoulders of Dan Carter and Ronan O’Gara.
Dan Carter is widely regarded as the best number 10 in the business with Ronan O’Gara a close second. Incredibly, the Crusaders kingpin has never played against Ireland before so Saturday’s game will including a mouth-watering battle between the playmaking duo.
Carter is set for a six-month stint at a European club before he returns to New Zealand rugby and fronts their bid for glory at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
But he cannot afford to think too far ahead as O’Gara, so vital in Munster’s Heineken Cup success, would relish getting one over on him in Wellington.
“I am really looking forward to this game because it will be the first time I’ve played against Ireland in my career,” Carter observed.
“Obviously that means playing opposite Ronan O’Gara and that will be a good challenge because he is playing well this season – he’s extremely experienced and will lead the team well.
“Ireland have some seasoned campaigners that know how to play Test match football and Ronan will direct them – he has a good kicking game – to play in the right area and they’ll try to match us up front.
“So, there are a few things that we expect and we have to be right on our game if we’re going to do well.”
As well as boasting a cultured left boot, Carter, with 21 tries in 44 Tests, is a serious attacking threat who will test Ireland’s close-in defence in the 10-12 channel.
Giving his opinion on the Carter v O’Gara showdown, Ireland defence coach Graham Steadman said: “Dan Carter’s a class act, we know that and he’s at the top of his game coming off a Super 14 final win so he’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence.
“But the same can be said of Ronan so it is going to be an interesting match-up. There are going to be several other interesting match-ups, certainly in midfield.
“I’m very excited about it. There’s no better challenge than playing New Zealand in their own backyard.”