Forget Mark Ella, Jonny Wilkinson, Andrew Mehrtens, Michael Lynagh, Stephen Larkham, Grant Fox or Barry John – Daniel William Carter is the best fly-half to have ever graced a rugby union pitch.
His masterclass in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, the centre point of an amazing 112-Test career, demonstrated that he is in a class of his own.
His direction, his kicking in play, his decision-making, his toughness – how did he keep getting back up after getting smashed in a handful of huge hits in the first half? – not to mention his clutch drop-goal that sealed the All Blacks’ win.
Carter is a freak, the best 10 we’ve ever seen.
It is his all-round game, his excellence in every area, that sets him apart.
1987 World Cup winner Fox was a great goal-kicker and a good general. Mehrtens was also a dead-eye kicker and sublime passer, but with questionable defence. Carter supersedes both fellow Kiwis.
Ella was dynamic with the ball but retired at 25 and never graced a World Cup. Lynagh was another excellent goal-kicker, a great support-player and a World Cup winner, but Carter has had the longer and more dynamic impact.
Larkham won the 1999 tournament, and always had an excellent rugby brain, but was fragile at times and never as accurate as Carter with the boot.
Wilkinson was a machine with a kicking tee, a hard-hitting tackler and a drop-goal merchant. But he was never a strong runner of the ball, or as inventive, not in the mould of Ella or Welsh wizard Barry John.
Carter had all that and more. He could play in tight, create or make breaks himself. He could unlock a defence and he could smash you in defence.
The 33-year-old is the complete rugby player. The closest other player that reminds me of him, and that’s without the bucket arse, is rugby league’s Andrew Johns.
Johns is an Immortal of the 13-man code and Carter holds similar status in the game they play in heaven.
He’s won every accolade there is – twice IRB player of the year, twice Super Rugby player of the year, all-time Super Rugby and international top point scorer, Super Rugby champion with the Crusaders four times, Top 14 champion with Perpignan in 2009, slayer of the Lions in 2005, Tri-nations, Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup champion countless times.
The list goes on. Add on another World Cup for good measure.
The lad from Leeston is a special individual and the 2015 final at Twickenham, when the pressure was on, just reinforced that standing.
Those who have seen him play in the flesh can count themselves lucky. As one Roarer put it “Carter is god”. A rugby god, a king among five-eighths, there can be no doubt.
Follow John Davidson on Twitter @johnnyddavidson