Dan Carter has not played in his homeland since his international retirement in 2015, when he helped the All Blacks achieve back-to-back World Cup titles at Twickenham.
WELLINGTON - Two-time All Blacks World Cup winner Dan Carter announced a shock Super Rugby comeback with Auckland Blues, saying he realised during coronavirus lockdown how much he missed the game.
Carter (38), a three-time world player of the year, has been a free agent since returning to New Zealand in March from Japan, where a virus-enforced shutdown ended his stint with Kobe Steelers.
"Two things from the lockdown that I realised was that I really enjoyed spending more time with my family and that I miss rugby," Carter said in a statement released by the Blues.
"For me it is a chance to mentor some young players and to give back to New Zealand rugby," he added.
The signing comes as New Zealand's Super Rugby teams prepare to start a domestic tournament next week, after COVID-19 halted the southern hemisphere championship in March.
Carter has not played in his homeland since his international retirement in 2015, when he helped the All Blacks achieve back-to-back World Cup titles at Twickenham.
Blues head coach Leon MacDonald said Carter signed a short-term deal as cover for injured fullback Stephen Perofeta. He joins a squad already containing Beauden Barrett, his successor as All Blacks playmaker.
As a replacement player, Carter will reportedly be on a minimum contract worth NZ$1,800 (US$1,155) a week, a huge cut from the millions he earned playing club rugby in France and Japan.
"For Dan it is not about the money. He is here as a favour, with a desire to give back to the sport," MacDonald said.
As the Blues already have Barrett -- himself a two-time world player of the year -- Carter may fill the role of supersub off the bench.
"I have not played for several months so it will take me a little bit of time to get game-ready," he said.