CONFIRMED: Carter returns to France
NEWS: Former All Blacks flyhalf and double World Cup winner Dan Carter will rejoin Racing 92 in March to “win the European Champions Cup”, the only competition he’s yet to win, club owner Jacky Lorenzetti said on Sunday.
“It’s the only title he’s missing, he added to his collection with Japan’s Top League in December so why not become a European champion with us,” Lorenzetti said.
“He wanted to come back, we wanted to have him back, we came to an agreement very quickly on financial conditions,” he said.
Coach Laurent Travers played down Carter’s impact on the side who face Toulouse in a Champions Cup quarter-final tie on March 31.
“He’s not Zorro. We’ve always been happy with what he brings to the team but he’s not going to run across the field and ensure we get good possession but he will help us to build,” Travers said.
The French Top 14 club announced he would return on a short-term deal from Japanese side Kobelco Steelers until the end of the season as cover for ex-South Africa flyhalf Pat Lambie who announced his immediate retirement in January due to numerous concussions.
Carter, 36, played for the Parisian side for three seasons between 2015-18 when he won the French title but was a runner up in two European finals.
He scored 445 points in 58 games during his last stint in Paris.
Before that, he won New Zealand’s provincial competition with Canterbury and Super Rugby with the franchise the Crusaders.
On the international front, he twice lifted the World Cup, the Tri-Nations and The Rugby Championship as well as a British and Irish Lions Test series with the All Blacks.
Carter’s previous spell in France was tarnished on two occasions.
He tested positive for anti-inflammatory drug corticosteroids in 2016 but was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in April 2017.
In the same year, he was caught driving while two-times over the legal alcohol limit by French police.
Carter is set for his third contract in the Top 14 having made only five appearances for Perpignan in 2009 because of an Achilles injury and is expected to feature for Racing in their league tie against Bordeaux-Begles in late-March.
Racing broadcast a video on the big screen at their home stadium on Sunday saying ‘Carter is back’ seconds before kick-off in their 34-29 league defeat to Toulouse.
The victory allowed the visitors to return to the top of the table as Australian flyhalf Zach Holmes scored 14 points in a bonus point victory for their eleventh straight league win of the season.
Racing’s Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell left the field just before the break with concussion and was replaced by Benjamin Volavola who was unable to stop his side’s second successive defeat.
Influential playmaker Russell is an injury concern for Vern Cotter ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash against France in Paris as the Scots look for the first success on French soil in 20 years.
Earlier on, La Rochelle kept the pressure on Toulouse and second-placed Clermont by beating relegation-threatened Grenoble 28-21 away from home to reclaim the third spot from Lyon.
Former All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow scored a pair of tries, crossing for the match-winning effort on 75 minutes as La Rochelle overcame a 21-point haul from the hosts’ Gaetan Germain.
— Racing 92 (@racing92) February 17, 2019