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Friday Jun 5, 2020

Legend Dan Carter aims to help the next generation after a 'tough decision'

Dan Carter has said it was a “tough decision” returning to New Zealand to play for the Blues in the imminent Super Rugby Aotearoa. 

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It was confirmed on Thursday that the All Blacks great is set to return to Super Rugby for the first time since leaving the Crusaders in 2015, and is to team up with Beauden Barrett, who has moved to Auckland from the Hurricanes this season as well.

The 38-year-old was playing for Kobelco Steelers in Japan until the Top League season was terminated in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fears mounted that that could have signalled the end of his glittering career, but he recently said on Instagram he is “back doing what I love after realizing how much I missed rugby over these last few months”.

The 112-cap All Black, and Test rugby’s record point scorer, quelled some of the hysteria that he will instantly slot into a backline with Barrett, a player who has two World Rugby player of the year accolades to go with Carter’s three. He said: “When Leon [MacDonald] called me with an opportunity to join the Blues squad as a replacement player it was a tough decision but I’m feeling very grateful to be able to train and potentially play in the same city my family and I are currently living.”

Of course, much of the rugby world will want to see the Kiwi playing, but he said this is an “opportunity to give back to NZ rugby by sharing my experience and rugby knowledge to the next generation of young players in the squad”.

The Blues have a considerable stock of flyhalves now, not only with Barrett but with Otere Black, Harry Plummer and Stephen Perofeta, and Carter could have a major impact on their development.

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This is a return that very few people saw coming when the new competition in New Zealand was announced, but it is one that makes the return of rugby all the more enticing.

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