The coronavirus pandemic has caused the suspension or cancellation of all major rugby competitions and this has led to some important player movements. None like the one announced this Thursday. Dan Carter, the historic opening of the All Blacks world champions in 20111 and 2015, returns home.
He does it from the hands of the Auckland Blues of Beauden Barrett (previously, from 2003 to 2015, he played for the Crusaders), the man who picked up the baton from his hands in the 10 of the Kiwi Selection when he retired from international rugby five years ago. “I was thinking that next week would be hectic, but this … heck,” Barrett blurted out to his predecessor on Tuesday in first practice together.
Carter, now 38, has been a member of the Kobelco Steelers in the Japanese Top League since 2018. The cancellation of this competition cleared the way for his return home five years after signing for Racing 92 of Paris in his second (he had a brief stint at Perpignan between 2008 and 2009) adventure outside of Aotearoa (‘The land of the great white cloud ‘, as the Maori natives call the New Zealand archipelago). That same Japan-New Zealand airlift has taken another standout All Black, Sam Whitelock Second Line, back at the Crusaders after a brief stint at the Panasonic Wild Knights.
The bet for Carter of the Blues has the asterisk of his age and what level a player who has been standing for a while in Super Rugby Aotearoa, the invention of the New Zealand Federation to avoid displacements in times of coronavirus, which will involve for 10 days, will be able to offer. (round trip) to the five franchises in the country that normally play Super Rugby. He himself believes that he will need time to adjust: “This is an opportunity to put my boots on whether or not I play. I have not played for many months, so it will take a few weeks before I am ready to be considered. I’m fit but not fit enough to play rugby. “” Some of the guys are pinching themselves. They do not know whether to shake hands or ask for an autograph, “said team coach Leon McDonald on Tuesday.
Either way, The Blues will have on the payroll the author of 1,598 points (historical leader in this field) in 112 appearances with the All Blacks jersey, a player who has won two World Cups in a row, three times the Super Rugby and nine times the Tri Nations / Rugby Championship. At best, they will be able to match you on the field with your most celebrated heir. And that is a possibility worth betting on.