Rugby: What made retired All Blacks great Dan Carter the 'Perfect 10'

The man many regard as the greatest first-five of all-time has played his last game of rugby.

After 19 seasons playing professionally around the globe, All Blacks centurion Dan Carter's - the ‘Perfect 10’ - is hanging up his boots for good.

So what made the kid from rural Canterbury better than anyone else on the planet? 

His 33-point haul in the second test against the 2005 British & Irish Lions was arguably the greatest individual performance rugby's ever seen. 

"I think that was where we stamped his mark to say, 'Not only am I a good player, I'm going to be a great player and I'm gonna be here for a while'," says All Blacks legend and selector Grant Fox.

Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen disagrees.

"As time went by, he just got better and better, and I think what he should be remembered for is the 2015 World Cup," says Hansen, who guided New Zealand to victory at that tournament.

A decade on from his Lions demolition, Carter was still dominating, turning up in the biggest moments on the biggest stage. 

But 2015 was a tournament that almost didn't happen for Carter, as the selectors considered leaving him out.

"We had discussions around that," says Fox. "I mean, Daniel had had some injury problems for the prior two years and only played half of the All Blacks test matches.”

Says Hansen: "We just needed him to have one good game and it was going to be the Dan Carter of old, and we saw that in Cardiff against the French.

"He turned it on and from that moment, he just got better and better."

Afterwards, Carter was named World Rugby Player of the Year for a record-equalling third time.

He's won titles all over the globe - three Super Rugby crowns with the Crusaders - and most recently with Kobe in Japan. 

But what made him so good? 

"First of all, he was a very skilled and talented athlete," says Hansen. "Secondly, he had a strong drive to want to be better all the time and those two things make a great combination."

Fittingly, his last game of rugby was for his boyhood club Southbridge. 

Now he's retired, the question is will we ever see another Dan Carter?

"History will say, at some stage, we will, but it might not be in our lifetime," says Fox.