Dan Carter is poised to join the Blues at the age of 38 in a shock signing ahead of the New Zealand Super Rugby championship. The world record Test point-scorer is expected to confirm on Thursday he has joined the Kiwi franchise as injury cover and will play his first rugby on New Zealand soil for five years.
Three-time world player of the year Carter spent 13 seasons playing five-eighth for the Crusaders before taking up offshore contracts in France and Japan. The last of his 112 Tests was the 2015 World Cup final win over Australia at Twickenham, where he took his points tally to 1,598.
Carter became a free agent when the Japan Top League was shut down by the coronavirus in March. He completed a two-season deal with the Kobelco Steelers, who he led to the Japanese club title the previous year. Before that he played three seasons with Paris club Racing 92.
A text message from Blues coach Leon MacDonald to his team on Wednesday, explaining why Carter had been signed, was leaked to media. “His motive is to give back to NZ rugby by sharing his experience/knowledge with us. Great opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greats,” the message said.
Dual World Cup winner Carter will join current All Blacks first-choice playmaker Beauden Barrett at the Blues. The brilliant Barrett is expected to be the starting No 10 for MacDonald although he is yet to play for the Blues himself, having shifted north after nine seasons at the Hurricanes.
Earlier this week, Carter raised the prospect of professional rugby players competing into their 40s in a streamed discussion with veteran Ireland five-eighth Johnny Sexton. Carter said the shutting down of rugby this year could have benefits to players wanting to recuperate and extend their careers.