Dan Carter confirms Blues deal in shock return to Super Rugby
4 June, 2020, 2:10 pm
Dan Carter was in Blues colours as he returned to the Super Rugby scene on Thursday.
Speculation the All Blacks great Carter was to join the Blues for Super Rugby Aotearoa proved correct as he trained with the Blues in Auckland.
But the 38-year-old says it might be a while before he is considered ready for action.
Carter said he had realised two things during the lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I realised I really enjoyed spending more time with my family, and that I miss rugby,” he said.
“Leon [Blues coach Leon MacDonald] is a good mate and we spoke about me helping out. For me it is a chance to mentor some young players and to give back to New Zealand rugby
“I have not 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 my form warrants it. I’m fit but not rugby fit.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to train in the same city that my kids go to school in and my family are currently living
“It will also be nice to share my experience with some of the young talent they have here at the Blues.”
Carter said this was a different situation to when he had previously been linked to a move to the Blues while at the peak of his powers.
“It’s a chance to put the boots on … whether I play or not,” Carter said, admitting he was still “a Cantabrian through and through”.
The former Crusaders stalwart returns to the Kiwi scene after three years in France and two in Japan following his second successive Rugby World Cup victory in England in 2015.
Earlier, Macdonald messaged his side on Wednesday, saying Carter was coming in as injury cover for Stephen Perofeta, and he wanted them to know before word got out.
The Blues now have two world class first-fives in Carter and Beauden Barrett as well as Otere Black and Harry Plummer. It’s a rare embarrassment of riches for a franchise that has struggled to gain the services of a top No 10 since Carlos Spencer departed in 2005.
All eyes were expected to be on Barrett’s touted Blues debut against his old Hurricanes outfit at Eden Park next week.
But the arrival of Carter has added another dimension to the buildup to that match as Super Rugby returns from its Covid-19 hiatus.
“How good eh? Here I was thinking ‘next week is going to be hectic’, but holy hecker,” Barrett joked to Carter during training.
Carter said he was thrilled to be working with Barrett. He had followed Barrett’s career closely over the last four years and he was delighted to see the way he had grown into a leadership role in all the teams he had played with.
He was also excited to be involved as rugby made its way back from the unexpected break and he was sure they would be able to make the fans happy.
Carter laugherd that his father had played until he was 40, so he was hopeful of getting through to 41 with a pair of rugby boots on.
MacDonald was excited at the presence and experience Carter brought to his squad.
“It’s great to have him. We have a young group of guys. Now we have a second world player of the year in the team to help guide our players on and off the field,” MacDonald said.
“It’s pretty surreal for some of our players. Some of them didn’t know whether to shake his hand or ask for an autograph.”
MacDonald laughed that he may have got Carter at a weak moment and timed his approach well with the lockdown.