Carter linked with Blues move

Reports from New Zealand suggest that All Blacks great Dan Carter will return to play in the country after signing for the Blues.

Carter is a free agent after finishing the final season of his contract with Japanese Top League side Kobe Steelers. The Top League was cancelled earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and Carter has returned to Auckland with his family.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the Blues have been in discussions with Carter and are currently looking for another flyhalf as Stephen Perofeta suffered a foot injury in training this week.

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The Blues have already signed Beauden Barrett – who could be handed the No 10 jersey in their Vodacom Super Rugby Aotearoa opener against the Hurricanes – and also have a capable deputy in Otere Black.

The 38-year-old Carter has been in excellent form for the Steelers, guiding the team to second place in the Top League with six wins out of six before the season was cancelled.

Blues coach Leon McDonald was reported to have sent a WhatsApp message to his players on Wednesday confirming the deal.

‘His motive is to give back to NZ Rugby by sharing his experience/knowledge with us,’ McDonald was reported to have written.

If the deal is confirmed, it would be Carter’s first southern-hemisphere experience since he left the Crusaders for Racing 92 after the 2015 World Cup.

Another leaked message from MacDonald to staff on Wednesday evening reportedly said Carter will indeed be ‘joining the squad as injury cover for Stevie [Perofeta]’.

Earlier this week, Carter said he believes age is no longer a factor in the game and, with sabbaticals, players can continue at the top level even at the age of 40.

‘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.’