While a leaked WhatsApp message already spilt the beans that All Blacks legend Dan Carter would be joining up with the Blues for Super Rugby Aotearoa, the club have now officially confirmed that they’ll have the 38-year-old playmaker on their books for the remainder of the year.
Carter was present at Blues training in Auckland today and while the sight may have been painful for any Crusaders fans, given that Carter clocked up 141 caps and three titles for the Canterbury-based side over a thirteen-year career, Blues fans will be amazed at their sudden depth in the 10-jersey.
Beauden Barrett was the big-name signing made by the Auckland team for the 2020 season but even he has yet to suit up for the Blues this year due to an early-season sabbatical.
“I’ll take the white light off you,” Carter jokingly said to Barrett in a video released by the Blues.
“Yeah I know,” Barrett responded. “Here I was thinking next week was going to be hectic.”
Now, the Blues have Carter and Barrett as well as the Otere Black and Harry Plummer at their disposal while Stephen Perofeta will miss the rest of the seasons through injury – which prompted Carter’s signing. While the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition for 2020 is expected to be physically demanding, it’s hard to envisage all five pivots earning significant game time over the coming months even after factoring in the versatility of the players.
— Liam Napier (@liamnapiernz) June 3, 2020
Still, for the Blues as a club and Auckland as a region, Carter is a massive signing – and will help get even more supporters out to Eden Park is crowds are allowed, as is expected when the competition kicks off in mid-June.
The Blues have kept an open dialogue with Carter for some time now and an injury to Perofeta, who has found a home at fullback in 2020, may have fast-tracked the chance to sign Carter on a replacement contract.
“Two things from the lockdown that I realised was that I really enjoyed spending more time with my family and that I miss rugby,” Carter said in a press release by the Blues.
“Leon 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.
Carter won’t be ready to play next week when the Blues open their competition against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
“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 form warrants it.”
Carter completed his playing commitments with Top Leauge side Kobe Steelers when the season in Japan was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, however Carter lives with his family in Auckland during the better part of the year.
Carter helped guide Kobe to back-to-back titles in his first two seasons with Kobe and his motives for joining the Blues, according to the leaked WhatsApp message, are said to be giving back to New Zealand rugby by sharing his knowledge and experience in the swansong of his career.
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