More than any of the 600 players at the World Cup, Daniel Carter may hold the tournament's outcome in his hands ... and feet.
Among the flyhalves who have won in the five previous World Cups, perhaps only Jonny Wilkinson - Carter's contemporary and the man who kicked England to the 2003 title - has been as individually influential.
The pantheon Carter hopes to join this year, after being part of All Blacks teams beaten at two previous World Cups, comprises Wilkinson, New Zealand's Grant Fox, Australia's Michael Lynagh and Stephen Larkham and South Africa's Joel Stransky and Butch James.
His inability to join that company in 2007 when New Zealand was beaten by France in a quarterfinal in which he was injured, has been, more than anything else, the force that has brought him back to try again. Now 29, he faces what is likely his last chance.
Carter could have left at any time in the last four years to take up substantial contracts overseas but he has remained in New Zealand, as has captain Richie McCaw, to vie for one prize that has eluded them.
Arguably, Carter was nearer his peak in 2007 than now. His best may have come in his 2005 series against the British and Irish Lions and while he still has all of his powers, including a prolific goal-kicking ability, his rivals are younger men.
Carter's career now stretches to 83 tests in which he has scored 1,229 points, surpassing Wilkinson to become the most prolific scorer in test history. In the matter of style, Carter's tally includes 29 tries and Wilkinson's only six.
But Carter's credentials do not include a World Cup title and that is an omission he hopes to repair over the next two months.
"I love playing for the All Blacks and I've achieved a lot playing for them," he said. "I've won the Bledisloe every single year that I've played and won a lot of Tri-Nations, and Grand Slams as well.
"But the World Cup is something that I haven't achieved. A big part of staying and playing my rugby in New Zealand has been to win this. Through my experience I realize it's not a given ... but at least I will give myself a chance."
Carter, a novice and understudy to Carlos Spencer in the All Blacks team beaten by Australia in the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup, was an established star of world rugby in 2007.
He is now one of the sport's great names and may be ready to exert his great influence on this tournament.
"My first year as a professional footy player and my first year in the All Blacks was 2003 and it was all quite overwhelming for me," he said. "I was obviously disappointed we lost but to bum out in the 2007 quarters to France, that was really tough. We had focused on that World Cup for three years and I know a lot more went into that one from me personally and consequently I felt it more."
Carter is now reconciled to the pressure of the World Cup.
"After all that focus last time, I said to myself that with this one I'll just let it come around," he said. "There is always going to be that extra expectation and pressure with it being in New Zealand so I have just concentrated on what lies immediately ahead of me and it has kind of taken my focus away from this tournament.
"I know that once we get involved it is going to be so huge so I don't think there has been any sense in thinking about it too early."
Carter's previous World Cup experience has informed him and given him a subtle self-confidence.
"What I have learnt from the last two World Cups is that to win the thing takes such a mammoth effort," he said. "It's not easy and it's not the form side going into the tournament that is always going to win. Things can happen in World Cups that don't happen in other regular test matches.
"Come playoffs time any team can beat anyone. So yeah, I have learnt some harsh lessons along the way but hopefully that will put us in better stead this year."
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