Dan Carter in a Blues jersey might be hard to swallow for Crusaders fans but it’s reality after the franchise confirmed his signing today ahead of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

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Carter has addressed the media after confirming he had joined the Blues franchise.

“I want to use my experience to help the Blues,” he said.

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Israel Dagg and Kirstie Stanway chat to Kiwi rugby players at home and abroad as the great game prepares to return.

“I’ve been approached a few times over the years when Ted [Sir Graham Henry] was coaching, JK [Sir John Kirwan] as well. I didn’t obviously at the time. I didn’t think about it.

“When the Japanese season was cancelled I just wanted to spend time with my family. It wasn’t until Leon called saying Stevie [Perofeta] had been ruled out for the season, that’s when I thought about it. He’s a pretty convincing guy.”

“It took a while to put it [the jersey] on but once I got out there…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.”

“We’ve been starved of sport and rugby. As a player we feel the same. With it being around the corner, it’s an exciting time. Super Rugby Aotearoa first came around I didn’t really think about playing in it… It’s more about getting my body up to speed to just be in contention to be selected. A great opportunity to help some of the young guys,” Carter added.

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Blues coach Leon MacDonald said it’s “a great story for rugby”.

“He’s been in the top level of rugby for a long time and for him to give back attests to his character.”

“DC is helping us on that track. We have some young talent who will thrive having him around. We need to look after Dan and progress him. I don’t expect to see Dan on the field in the early weeks but when he is ready he’ll give us options,” MacDonald said.

“He’ll be great for us, he’s got a level head, selfless, no ego. The younger guys will come over and talk to him. Our team is important this year. Dan epitomises that. He is our Tom Brady, he just keeps going.”

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“His heart’s in the right place. I got him at the right time and I think I might have hit the jackpot here. Maybe he’s just coming out of lockdown and still not thinking straight!”

‘Competitive edge’

Carter explained it was his ‘competitive edge’ that drew him to the Blues.

“There’s a competitive edge in all pro spokespeople,” Carter added.

“At this stage I have to be realistic. I’ve played six games in the last 18 months. It’s going to be a process…no contact the last three months. The games in Japan gave me a lot of confidence to bounce back from the neck injury I had. Once I can get some work under the belt with the trainings, I want to be out there competing.

“That’s what all sportspeople miss – that competitive edge and even just running around out there today brought that back.

Playing against the Crusaders

“I talked to the old man. As a proud Cantab…as he has been throughout my career he’s been supportive. I’ve talked to Razor to let him know my reasoning, too.”

“It’s all happened really quickly. Last week I probably thought this was the last place I would be.”

“I don’t want to think about what it would be like to play against the Crusaders – if that were to happen. I’ll deal with that later on.”

“It’s a bit of a favour for a good mate of mine and I’ll keep that favour in the back pocket. We’ve been teammates for a big part of my career and to be coached by him is great,” Carter said.

‘NZ rugby has given me so much.’

They’ve obviously gone through a challenging period. To be alongside some young players and someone like Beaudy is a great opportunity to give back,” Carter said.

“I haven’t even thought about playing alongside Beauden. I’ve been impressed with the leadership role he’s taken with the All Blacks. He was a young fella when I was still playing with him, now I’m looking forward to pick his brain for my learning.

“Fans have been starved of live sport and ho[pefully they will show their appreciation. There’s still some uncertainty around the crowd situation but hopefully, they can come out and support their teams.”

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