Watch: Dan Carter's return to rugby in New Zealand
It’s been exactly one month since the Blues announced the signing of former All Blacks legend Dan Carter. While the 38-year-old has yet to take the field for his new Super Rugby side, he’ll play his first game of rugby back in New Zealand today when he runs out for his old Southbridge club in Canterbury.
Carter last played a game of competitive rugby in February when his former Top League side, the Kobelco Steelers, belted Toshiba Brave Lupus in Kobe and Blues coach Leon MacDonald has indicated that Carter is still not quite ready for the big leagues of Super Rugby.
“The fact he’s going to play a bit of club rugby is great and it does put him closer to being game ready but it doesn’t mean as soon as he’s ready to go he’s going to be playing for us,” MacDonald told the NZ Herald.
LIVE Luisetti Seed Southbridge Premier Men's CompetitionHost Southbridge vs West Melton
Posted by Canterbury Rugby on Friday, 3 July 2020
Carter was brought into the Blues team as a replacement for young playmaker Stephen Perofeta but the MacDonald-coached team still has plenty of original squad members available to cover for Perofeta’s absence.
The Otere Black-Beauden Barrett combination is working wonders for the Blues at present while Auckland pivot Harry Plummer has looked solid when called upon throughout the season. Carter is the back-up to those three players and although the wider public are hoping to see Carter used against his old Crusaders side next weekend, MacDonald has indicated that’s not likely to eventuate.
“We’ve got to remember the purpose around Dan,” MacDonald said. “He’s here to provide cover in the case of injury or form and right now we’re pretty happy with both.
“Dan’s expectation isn’t to come in here and be the No 1 player, although he’s a competitive man and I know he wants to play. We’ve got to stay true to what we discussed and that’s around him giving us options and cover and adding value off the field.”
That will disappoint many around New Zealand who have been salivating at the thought of Carter squaring off against the side he earned 141 caps for over a 13-year career.
Putting that aside, however, there’s still an opportunity to catch the legendary All Black in action this weekend as Carter’s Southbridge club goes head to head with West Melton – and the Canterbury Rugby Union have made the wise decision to live-stream the match via their Facebook page from 2:45 PM NZT.
Expect Super Rugby players and coaches from around the country to tune in to gauge what they might be up against if Carter does run out for the Blues later in the season.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now