Dan Carter poised for Super Rugby comeback with the Blues

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — World Cup-winning All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter is poised to make a surprise return to Super Rugby in New Zealand at the age of 38.

Carter is expected to sign on as an injury replacement with the Blues, joining current All Blacks No. 10 Beauden Barrett at the Auckland-based franchise for the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament.

A message from Blues head coach Leon MacDonald to players announcing Carter’s imminent signing was leaked Wednesday to New Zealand media.

MacDonald said “so you know before the rest of the world ... Dan Carter will be joining the squad as injury cover," for Stevie Perofeta.

Back-up flyhalf Perofeta will miss the start of the tournament, which kicks off June 13, because of a foot injury. The Blues also have Otere Black who played at flyhalf in the first seven rounds of the five-nation Super Rugby tournament, which was suspended in March when international travel restrictions were imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Carter played 141 matches over 13 Super Rugby seasons for the Christchurch-based Crusaders and led the All Blacks to victory at the 2015 World Cup after being injured at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand. He retired from test rugby in 2015 and has since played in France and Japan.

Carter became a free agent after completing contract obligations to the Kobe Steelers when the Japan Top League club season was ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MacDonald told Blues players that Carter’s “motive is to give back to New Zealand rugby through sharing his experience/knowledge with us. Great opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greats.”

Barrett is expected to start at flyhalf in the Blues’ opening match against the Wellington-based Hurricanes at Auckland on June 14. The tournament, which starts with a match between the Highlanders and Chiefs, involves New Zealand’s five Super Rugby teams playing home and away matches.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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