Carter ready for ‘do-or-die match’

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter highlighted the importance of Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final at Twickemham against South Africa by referring to it as "a do-or-die match".

Carter said although matches against the Springboks are always tough and physical he expects the intensity levels to increase given the magnitude of this weekend's clash.

"This is another do-or-die match against some quality opposition we've played against quite a bit, so there is a lot of edge in training," explained the 33-year-old, who joins Top 14 outfit Racing 92 after the World Cup.

"You often get asked the question who the toughest opposition is, and it does vary, but consistently throughout my career South Africa have been right up there.

"The way they play the game, they are extremely physical, and you know that once you've played them, you will be sore for a few days. Nothing will change this weekend.

"It's a different ball-game when you are playing South Africa in a World Cup play-off game. It means so much more. It's a huge challenge."

Carter had special praise for his captain Richie McCaw who will reach another important milestone in his illustrious career in Saturday's semi-final. 

By leading the All Blacks into battle, McCaw will set a World Cup record by becoming the first player to captain a team in 12 matches in the tournament's history.

McCaw will also play in his 147th Test for his country and Carter referred to his captain as an "inspiration" to the defending world champions.

"He leads the team fantastically well," added Carter.

"He is an inspiration, a player that really motivates this side because of his actions. You see him at training. He is first out, and last to leave. His work ethic is fantastic.

"Out on the field, he is the first guy to put his body on the line, and when you are working so closely with him, it inspires you to do the same.

"To have such longevity in this demanding game goes to show his professionalism, his drive and desire to play at this level. I feel honoured to play alongside this legend of the game."