(Reuters) - Former British and Irish Lions coach Clive Woodward has described New Zealand's Dan Carter as the greatest attacking number 10 he has seen - but still rates Jonny Wilkinson ahead of him as the most complete flyhalf.
Two-time World Cup winner Carter announced his retirement from professional rugby on Saturday, finishing as the highest point scorer in test rugby history with 1,598 - more than 350 clear of England's Wilkinson.
Woodward, who coached England to the 2003 World Cup title, said he had often been asked who was a better number 10 - Carter or Wilkinson.
"It's almost an impossible choice. They were, by some distance, the two pre-eminent fly-halves of their era – both incidentally natural left-footers," Woodward wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.
"I would score Jonny and Dan about equal as the best goalkickers we have seen, Dan was the best attacking 10 I ever saw while Jonny was far and away the best defensive 10 I ever witnessed.
"If I was forced into a corner I would go with Jonny. Just. I was lucky enough to coach him for six years and knew his game intimately. With Dan I just admired from afar."
Woodward led the Lions on the tour of New Zealand in 2005 where he said Carter announced himself as a "truly world class talent".
In the second test, Carter scored two tries, four conversions and five penalties to seal the series for the All Blacks.
"His 33 points in the second test at Wellington, including two brilliant tries, was off the Richter scale and possibly the best individual performance I have ever witnessed at test level. The Perfect 10," Woodward said.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)