Carter had doubts but keen to look ahead
He will start Saturday's clash against Scotland almost a year since he last wore the New Zealand no 10 jersey.
LONDON - All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter had some lingering doubts as to whether his 'annus horribilis' would ever end but this weekend finally gets the chance to put it all behind him and turn his focus towards next year's World Cup.
The 32-year-old twice world Player of the Year will start the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, almost a year to the day since he last wore the New Zealand number 10 jersey.
That was on 16 November, 2013 against England in his 100th test, which ended prematurely when a lingering Achilles injury forced him off the field after 26 minutes.
After that, he took a six-month sabbatical from rugby to have surgery, work on his conditioning and ensure he was still available for the World Cup defence in England next year.
On his return, though, he broke his leg in the Super Rugby final on 2 August and as he recovered from that injury suffered nerve damage that prevented him from too much contact and running.
"There's been a lot of frustration throughout the year and doubt has crept in at certain periods," Carter told New Zealand media in Edinburgh.
"That's the biggest thing, rather than maybe in your darkest thoughts questioning whether you will put the jersey on again.
"But once you get over that and get back to your plan and your goals you are a lot more focussed on what needs to be done."
After proving his fitness in training, Carter did make his return to the All Blacks with about 30 minutes off the bench against the US in Chicago on 1 November.
Carter, who showed glimpses of his majestic best against the Eagles, added he was not going to use the Scotland game to ease his way back in to test rugby.
He wanted to stamp his authority on the game and show the world he would still be a vital cog in the New Zealand machine at next year's global showpiece.
"Every time I put on the black jersey I want to be one of the best players out there, if not the best player out there," he said.
"To get back to this position to be able to play for the All Blacks is a great start from me, but I'm far from done.
"I'm not going to be happy to just get through 60 or 80 minutes, I want to walk off that pitch having put in a really top performance."