Dan Carter-mania swept Auckland as soon as rumours emerged that the All Blacks legend might be signing for the Blues. While Carter’s signature was confirmed a day later, before Super Rugby Aotearoa had even kicked off, the former Crusader has yet to take to the field for his new side.
Make no mistake, however, Carter is already contributing to the culture and success of a Blues side that is now chasing their seventh win on the trot.
After breaking a 14-match winless streak against the Chiefs last year, the Blues also saw to their six-match losing streak in Hamilton on Saturday evening, beating their southern rivals 24-12.
Even the Blues’ other most significant signing for 2020, Beauden Barrett, had never won a Super Rugby game in the Waikato, with his old side the Hurricanes also breaking their duck earlier this season and recording a first win in Hamilton since 2007.
The one man in the Blues who had tasted victory against the Chiefs in the Waikato, however, is new recruit Carter, and he wasted no time motivating his new club ahead of their win, according to wing Caleb Clarke.
“[It’s] something we haven’t done since 2011,” Clarke told RugbyPass of the accomplishment. “I know that Dan Carter, in our last training together as a whole squad, he mentioned how our team can do something that no other Blues team has done in a while and I think that meant a lot to everyone. And, you know, it’s Dan Carter – when he speaks, you just want to listen to him.
“It’s pretty awesome having that experience and going down there and getting one over the Chiefs.”
For Clarke, who was just six years old when Carter guided the Crusaders to his first Super 12 title in 2005, the addition of the new experienced heads in the Blues team has done wonders for their game.
“It’s pretty crazy, eh? I can remember, when I was like 9 years old, watching Small Blacks TV on like a Sunday, Saturday and just seeing Dan Carter do all his skills and he finished off with ‘practise, practise, practise makes you perfect’. I think I’d look back on that and just be still be pinching myself that I’m running next to Dan Carter, running next to Beauden Barrett.
“It’s awesome as one of the young players, I know all the other boys are frothing over it, it’s been pretty awesome having them there.”
Fans may be disappointed that Carter hasn’t yet accrued any minutes for his adopted team but Otere Black and Barrett have been pulling the strings well of late and Carter is still easing his way back into action.
Everyone can rest assured that Carter’s signing is not going to waste, however, as the experienced 38-year-old is doing plenty off the park to aid the Blues in their quest for a first title since 2003.
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