All Black flyhalf Dan Carter says seeing his Crusaders in action in Super Rugby makes him want to return to the field as quickly as possible, but he knows his sabbatical from the game will be for the best in the long run.
The World Cup winning No10 spoke exclusively to The Star after he had kicked off MasterCard’s worldwide partnership with Rugby World Cup 2015 in London.
Regarded by many as the world’s leading player, Carter hasn’t featured for his beloved Crusaders team this season after taking a seven-month sabbatical from the game to recharge and refresh ahead of the All Blacks’ defence of their World Cup crown next year. He says sitting on the sidelines has been tough at times, but it’s for the best.
“Every time I watch the Crusaders run out I wish I was there. But with the injuries I’ve had in recent times my mind and body needed a break,” he said. “I think in the long run the benefits will be there for all to see.”
Carter last played during the November Tests in the northern hemisphere and will return to the playing field after the June Test window. It means he’ll miss the All Blacks’ Test series against England but feature for the Crusaders in the latter stages of Super Rugby. He’ll also play in the Rugby Championship, featuring New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, and then build towards World Cup 2015.
In his time away from the game, Carter has whizzed around the world, attending Oscar awards parties, the Australian Grand Prix and the Masters golf tournament last weekend in Augusta, Georgia.
“I’ve been playing international rugby for 11 years so it’s important to have time off as well. I’ve experienced a lot of new things in the last few months which have been priceless and I know I’ll be fresher when I return to the field.” Carter previously stated that his sabbatical from the game would add an extra two years to his career, one he hopes takes him to the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
The 32-year-old said that once he’s back on the rugby field later this year he’ll put all his energy into helping the All Blacks defend their World Cup title in England. Let us not forget that Carter missed the latter stages of the 2011 tournament after picking up an injury early on so he’ll be very keen to make a big impression.
“I’m having my time off now. When I return we’ll have 14 months to the next World Cup, so I’ll have a full season next year to build towards the tournament. As a team we’ll need to get some momentum behind us.”
Carter admitted he hasn’t watched much Super Rugby this year, but has kept an eye on his Canterbury-based side. “They struggled a bit against the other New Zealand teams, but that’s the Crusaders for you – it’s standard practice, starting slowly. But they picked up two good wins in South Africa and will have some momentum behind them now.” - The Star