Crusaders

Dan Carter confirms French �sabbatical�

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Dan Carter will play for Perpignan in the 2008/9 French Top 14 rugby competition following the conclusion of his duties on the All Blacks’ end of year Northern Hemisphere tour (subject to selection).


Dan will then return to New Zealand in June 2009 with an eye on securing his position in the All Blacks through until at least the 2011 World Cup.


The announcement brings an end to months of speculation about whether Dan would take up the NZRU’s offer of a 6 month northern sabbatical and if so, the destination.


Dan had been linked to Toulon, and while he confirms that he had discussions with the Tana Umaga coached club, Perpignan’s involvement in next season’s European Cup ultimately tipped the balance for the Mediterranean based club.


‘Obviously we hear a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the European competitions and how they compare to the Rebel Sport Super 14 and the Air New Zealand Cup.


Basically, if I am going to play rugby in Europe I want to test myself against the best Europe can offer and I am excited about the challenges both the Top 14 and the European Cup will bring.


‘I have done plenty of research on both Toulon and Perpignan and whilst I have no doubt that I would have enjoyed Toulon, in the end, Perpignan’s qualification for next year’s European Cup swayed my decision.


‘I would like to thank the NZRU for offering me this unique opportunity.


The All Black jersey is no one’s by right and I fully appreciate that I will have to continue to play well and prove myself if I am to be involved with the All Blacks next year and beyond.


The 2011 Rugby World Cup is going to be a phenomenal event and my priority has always been to be available to take part in that.


‘Obviously there is also some disappointment at not being able to be part of the Crusaders next year and that was probably the hardest part of my decision, particularly given how well the boys finished the season and the excitement around the new coaching structures next year.


‘The Crusaders have been a massive part of my life and I hope that I can continue that association when I return.


‘adidas have also been fantastic throughout this process and fully supportive of what I am trying to achieve.’


On this point, Greg Bramwell, adidas NZ Managing Director commented: ‘We have been kept fully aware of Dan’s intentions from the moment the NZRU offered the chance of an overseas ‘sabbatical’.


We have always been very supportive of him taking this opportunity and reports that we were in any way trying to prevent or impose any conditions on the deal are simply not true.


The fact is that it is an exciting opportunity for Dan and we are excited about seeing him back in New Zealand next year and hopefully making a massive contribution to New Zealand rugby through and beyond the 2011 Rugby World Cup.’


Lou Thompson, of the essentially Group, commented: ‘This whole process, from the negotiations with the NZRU (led by fellow essentially Group Director, Warren Alcock, which culminated in Dan signing a contract with the NZRU until the end of 2011, including a sabbatical option) to concluding matters with Perpignan has been unchartered territory for all involved.


Whilst everyone had the same goal in mind, there were many steps to take along the way. In some ways we have had to write the book as we have gone along and I am confident that the agreements that have been reached are good for Dan, Perpignan, the NZRU and ultimately New Zealand rugby.’

 

Rugbyweek.com

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