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Carter happy with back

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Sportal.co.nz     26 Sep 2011     Getty Images

Carter missed the game against Japan a week earlier when he was forced to withdraw due to a back strain but said he had pulled up well after New Zealand's 37-17 win over Les Bleus.

Carter converted three of the All Blacks' five tries and added a penalty goal and a dropped goal for 12 points, carrying him past 100 World Cup points - the 16th player to achieve the feat.

He is now 13th on the all-time list of World Cup points scorers with 109.

The dropped goal was the seventh in New Zealand's Rugby World Cup history, and the first in a Test match against France for 21 years.

Carter said the game was tougher than any New Zealand had played in the pool matches at the 2007 tournament.

"It was good to get that kind of competition in pool play because that's the level, if not more, come quarter-final stages so we just have to keep improving," he said.

Revenge for the quarter-final loss to France in 2007 was not a factor in the All Blacks' performance, he added.

"It was more about going out and playing a game we had targeted as the toughest game in our pool and obviously doing it for Richie [McCaw], rather than for what happened four years ago," he said.

Carter was pleased the All Blacks were able to withstand a physical French side in the opening stanza of the match.

"Once we got into our rhythm I thought we played well and scored a quick three tries after that and got a bit of momentum so I think in patches we played well and in patches the French team showed what they were capable of," he said.

France finished the first half well but the All Blacks came out firing after the break as fullback Israel Dagg scored his second try of the match.

Carter said he was happy with his own performance for much of the game but still had 'a couple of little glitches' to fix up.

"To get a good 80 minutes under the belt was really pleasing," he said.

The win meant New Zealand was the first team to secure their place in the quarter-finals, also becoming the only team to win their pool in all seven World Cups.

Australia and South Africa have achieved the feat five times.

Sonny Bill Williams' late try meant with three tries after coming on as a replacement, he is the top try scorer from the bench at any World Cup.