Dan Carter back in Super Rugby as Blues confirm signing of World Cup-winning stand-off

New Zealand great says he will need some time to prepare and reach match fitness

All Black great Dan Carter is making a surprise return to Super Rugby for the Auckland Blues. Picture: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
All Black great Dan Carter is making a surprise return to Super Rugby for the Auckland Blues. Picture: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

World Cup-winning All Blacks stand-off Dan Carter has returned to Super Rugby in New Zealand after it was confirmed the 38-year-old has signed for the Blues.

Carter has been recruited as an injury replacement, joining current All Blacks No 10 Beauden Barrett at the Auckland-based franchise for the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament.

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A message from Blues head coach Leon MacDonald to players announcing Carter’s imminent signing was leaked on Wednesday to New Zealand media. Carter appeared at a news conference yesterday, after his signing was confirmed.

He will join the Blues on a basic contract – worth about £1,000 per week – as an injury replacement for stand-off Stephen Perofeta, who has a foot injury and will miss the start of the New Zealand tournament, which runs for ten weeks from 13 June.

Carter, who reportedly was playing for around £800,000 per season in Japan, is also unlikely to make the start of the season, saying he will need some time to prepare and reach match fitness. “I haven’t played for several months so it will be a number of weeks before I will be ready to be considered to play and then only if form warrants it,” he said.

Carter played all of his Super Rugby for the Christchurch-based Crusaders before leaving New Zealand five years ago to play in France and Japan, most-recently for the Kobelco Steelers in Japan’s Top League. He became a free agent when the Japan league was cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Carter said he never expected to play for the Blues and had rejected offers to do so from previous Blues coaches Graham Henry and John Kirwan. But he now lives in Auckland, so accepted the contract offer from his former All Blacks team-mate MacDonald.

“It wasn’t really a team I thought I would be playing for but it’s an opportunity to come to training in the city my family is,” Carter said. “We’ve been starved of sport and rugby. As a player we feel the same.”

Carter led the All Blacks to victory at the 2015 World Cup after being injured at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. He retired from Test rugby 
in 2015.

The Super Rugby Aotearoa starts with a match between the Highlanders and Chiefs. It involves New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams playing home and away matches.

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