Friday, June 27, 2008
Perpignan have ended months of speculation about the imminent move of All Black flyhalf superstar Dan Carter to France. Carter will join the club in the approaching season under a sabbatical arrangement approved by the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Carter, regarded as the best No. 10 in world rugby, will join Perpignan after the All Blacks' tour to Britain in November and will resume his New Zealand international duties in June next year.
He will miss next year's Super 14 tournament but return with an eye to retaining his position for the All Blacks early season internationals -- despite having played practically non-stop for 18 months.
With all the talk of Carter more than likely going to Toulon, where fellow Kiwi Tana Umaga is the coach and Jerry Collins has recently signed, Carter chose a team that will be in the Heineken Cup and expose him to that level of play.
"Basically, if I am going to play rugby in Europe I want to test myself against the best Europe can offer and I am excited about the challenges both the Top 14 and European Cup will bring."
Carter is the first All Black to be granted a so-called sabbatical by the New Zealand Rugby Union, which allows him to take advantage of a lucrative offer from European clubs while remaining contracted to New Zealand.
Captain Richie McCaw has a similar clause in his recently agreed contract but said he has no current plans to play overseas.
"I have done plenty of research on both Toulon and Perpignan and whilst I have no doubt I would have enjoyed Toulon, Perpignan's qualification for next year's European Cup swayed my decision."
The value of Carter's contract with Perpignan had not been revealed, but published reports had estimated it to be in excess of US$1 million.
Jerry Collins' shock retirement from New Zealand rugby
All Black Nick Evans off to Harlequins