Former All Black Dan Carter is reportedly set to make a sensational return to New Zealand’s Super Rugby after five years away from the country.
Carter spent three seasons playing in Paris with Racing 92, before moving to Japan to join the Kobe Steelers where he helped the Japanese side to a title in his maiden season.
According to reports in the New Zealand media, Carter will be joining the Auckland Blues and will act as injury cover for utility back Stephen Perofeta.
Auckland Blues coach Leon MacDonald is understood to have confirmed the news to the squad on Wednesday evening via a Whatsapp message, which was obtained by media in New Zealand, however, the club have not commented on the potential move officially.
Carter spent 13 seasons in Super Rugby with the Crusaders and helped New Zealand to back to back World Cup triumphs in both 2011 and 2015.
The Japanese Top League’s suspension has meant that the 38-year-old is now a free agent and can join the Blues who have reportedly been in talks with Carter for some time.
Should the move materialise, Carter would also get the chance to play with two-time World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett who signed for the Blues earlier this year.
According to the New Zealand Herald, signing Carter, the dual World Cup winner and three-time World Player of the Year, as a replacement player would also only cost the Blues $1800 per week.
Carter recently spoke to Irish out-half Johnny Sexton in the latest episode of his Kickin It Facebook series and raised the prospect of some players playing into their 40s.
“Using this time off, it’s something you don’t get as a professional rugby player,” Carter said.
“Having two or three months, maybe it’s going to be much longer, of not having that constant grind, that contact. So it is like a mini-sabbatical.
“I was very fortunate to have a couple through my career, but if it’s used wisely the young players that have been playing heavily for the past four or five seasons, it’s perfect timing.
“Then you look at the other side of the spectrum with more experienced players like yourself (Sexton), you don’t get many opportunities like this.
“So if it’s used wisely and you keep training, and as long as your motivation upstairs is still there, I can’t see why you can’t play longer than potentially you thought you might, with having a break like this.
“Obviously there is some pretty exciting rugby around the corner over the next couple of years, so I told Maro (Itoje, last week’s guest) that I expect him to still be playing when he’s 38 years old, like myself, and with you having a break like this then you can probably push through to the 40s. So I’m looking forward to seeing that.”