All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter Sunday launched his latest comeback aimed at making next year’s World Cup, playing 40 minutes in a provincial match in New Zealand.
The Test centurion, and the world’s most prolific international points scorer, has become injury-prone as he enters the twilight years of his stellar career.
But the 32-year-old said he has not lost any enthusiasm as he eyes a fourth World Cup next year, and with Racing Metro wanting to lure him to play in France after that.
Carter’s latest setback was a leg fracture playing for the Canterbury Crusaders against the NSW Waratahs in the Super 15 final in early August.
He returned to the field Sunday to score 11 points in an otherwise unpressured appearance before departing unscathed at half-time when his Canterbury side played Southland in a provincial championship match.
“It’s just a matter of building into things and hopefully I’ll get three games or so for Canterbury, work my way into form and get a bit of confidence back,” he said before the game.
Carter is not scheduled to return to the All Blacks until they play Australia in Brisbane on October 18.
He was injured after playing only a handful of games at the end of the Super competition when he returned from a seven-month break from rugby.
The break was intended to preserve his body through to the World Cup starting in England next September.
Since the 2011 World Cup, Carter has only played in 15 of the All Blacks’ 36 Tests — allowing Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett to develop as fly-halves.
Paris-based Racing Metro have restated their desire to lure Carter back for a second stint in France.
“Dan Carter would perhaps strengthen the club next season, if the coaches agree,” club chairman Jacky Lorenzetti told Sud Radio recently.
Lorenzetti was previously reported by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper to have made a big-money move to sign Carter. The bid, which would have seen him move to France after the 2011 World Cup, came to nothing.
Carter’s previous experience of club rugby in France ended early when he ruptured an Achilles tendon after only five games playing for Perpignan in 2008.
Although Carter, the world player of the year in 2005 and 2012, has appeared in three World Cups, he has yet to play in a final.
Although he received a Cup winners’ medal in 2011 he never felt he earned it after an injury ruled him out of the tournament in pool play.