As former All Black Dan Carter retires from first-class rugby, it is as a record-holding Champion. One who played at the elite level for his entire professional career, and he leaves a legacy of near-perfection.
In a career that stretched from his provincial debut for Canterbury in 2002, his years as a professional footballer lasted until his final full-time role with Kobelco Steelers in the 2018 Japan Top League. Stretching over 18 seasons [not including his unfulfilled signing with the Blues], he has called time on his own terms to focus on his family and his business/media career.
Celebrated as much by his peers, as much as by fans in New Zealand and around the world. Former teammates and opposing players have all applauded his legacy – some using the analogy GOAT, yet that is not something the player himself ever broadcast. More humble, in his likeable, effusive manner. His place in the game will remain by his own feats of achievement.
Carter still holds the record for most first-class points: 1598. A formidable personal record, one that may stay unchallenged for some time, as well as being voted three-times World Rugby Player of the Year.
— Sky Sport NZ (@skysportnz) February 20, 2021
Former All Black Dan Carter retires as record-holding Champion
The player himself has penned his own statement, which has been published in the Players Tribune. In it, he speaks of the decision made but as much, it is a testimony to his character, his love for the sport, and what he hopes he may be remembered for.
“I always knew my career wasn’t going to last forever. This game is so much bigger than any one player. Ultimately, we’re just custodians, and can only hope to leave the game in better shape than we found it.
“My greatest hope is that maybe there was at least one person out there who, while watching me play, might have had a little spark ignited inside of them. And maybe that spark motivated them to dedicate themselves to their own impossible dream.”
With a record that would be hard to eclipse, today’s players would all say that it was former All Black Dan Carter who changed the way the role of a first-five was seen.
Beginning as a fearless runner, his brilliance was soon capped by an ability to make wise decisions. To think on two levels; primarily in attack yet it was his defence that meant he was a vital member of the teams he was a part of. While he could contribute to a fantastic Crusaders backline move, his ability to read the game meant that he was seen as the more balanced player by comparison to Carlos Spencer, for the epic 2005 British and Irish Lions tour.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) June 10, 2020
Rated an Immortal by his modern contemporaries
By comparison with his contemporaries, he was as technical as Jonny Wilkinson, or as strategic as Stephen Larkham. Yet that combination of skills is where he appeared to have a grasp of the whole range of credentials needed to lead the All Blacks attacking machinery for over a decade. Capped 112 times for his country, that includes the triumphant role that Carter played in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
Congratulations on an inspiring career mate. Incredible times behind you, very exciting ones ahead too. Go well!! https://t.co/sL8CCBrajD
— Jonny Wilkinson (@JonnyWilkinson) February 20, 2021
That was the crescendo of this International career, and the number ten retired from Test rugby. Yet he was still able to perform at the elite level, where he collected a French Top14 title, a Japan Top League title, to complete his resume; five New Zealand provincial and three Super Rugby championships.
Others have applauded his ability to recover from multiple injury setbacks, his longevity; he helped to augment the professional application of the Rugby sabbatical, to extend his playing career.
As the former All Black Dan Carter permanently hangs up his boots, he himself will hope that he has left the sport in a better shape than when he found it. In his own words, “Ultimately, getting to leave your sport on your own terms is all you can really hope for as an athlete.
“But I’d be lying if I said I don’t think I’ll miss playing.”
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images