• Carter: I have a bit of catching up to do

    Dan Carter has indicated that it may take him up to a month of training before he is ready to play for the Blues as he has plenty of fitness work to do.

    The World Cup-winning flyhalf surprisingly joined the Blues ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament after he returned home to Auckland when the Japanese Top League was cancelled.

    Having not played a game of rugby since early March, Carter told Newstalk ZB that he may only be ready to make his anticipated Blues debut next month.

    ‘I wasn’t expecting to play any rugby in 2020 when the Japanese season got cancelled, so my lockdown was a little bit different to the Super Rugby players’, not as intense training-wise, so I have a bit of catching up to do,’ Carter explained.

    ‘Basically, I just want to train really hard for a month and then we can reassess exactly where things are at the end of that. If my body is good, I may become available for selection then.

    ‘Whether I am picked or not is going to be up to the coaches because they have a lot of depth. I’m just waiting to try and contribute both on – but probably more off – the field at the moment … I’m trying to get my body up to speed so I can be considered.’

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    The Blues already have Otere Black, Beauden Barrett and Harry Plummer as flyhalf candidates in their squad while Stephen Perofeta,  out injured at the moment, can also wear the No 10 jersey.

    Barrett has been introduced to the Blues team at fullback – where he plays internationally for the All Blacks – while Black has started the first two Aotearoa games at flyhalf, with Plummer providing cover on the bench.

    Meanwhile, Black has been in excellent form and showed against the Hurricanes why he has retained the faith of coach Leon McDonald as he slotted three penalties and three conversions.

    ‘He is a great player,’ Carter said about Black. ‘Very underrated. He controlled the game very well and is always reliable off the tee. I have had a few conversations with him, more informally. We will get through training and he will ask me questions about what I’ve seen and ways I could help his play.’

    Photo: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO