All Blacks' Dan Carter makes successful return

TONY SMITH
Last updated 17:57 14/06/2014
Dan Carter
Photosport

HE'S BACK: All Blacks superstar Dan Carter made his return to rugby with Southbridge on Saturday.

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All Blacks ace Dan Carter is eyeing another club rugby game next week after emerging unscathed from his comeback match for boyhood club Southbridge today.

A thick fog did not deter more than 2000 people turning out at Southbridge - population 700 - to watch their favourite son play a major role in a 51-10 win over North Canterbury club Glenmark in the Canterbury Combined Country first division playoffs.

The 32-year-old - returning from a seven-month sabbatical - kicked two penalties and two conversions for a 10-point haul and set up two tries in the first half before taking a scheduled break at halftime and watching the second-half rout from the substitutes'  bench.

But the star first five-eighth created Southbridge's first try with a slick crosskick to his right winger and then put another teammate over in the left-hand corner with a big cutout pass.

Carter was making his first appearance on Southbridge Domain for 15 years and his first in the blue-and-white jersey since a cameo outing against Hornby in 2009 while on the comeback from an Achilles tendon injury.

He said it was a special thrill to be back playing at Southbridge where his father, Neville, is the bar manager and coach of the club's second division team, who played in the curtainraiser.

"It was a lot of fun, and hopefully, I'll be back next week for a bit more game-time.''

Carter said he was "easing back into it'' and was mindful that the muddy ground - wet from a week of steady rain - were "heavier than what I'm used to''.

He said the lungs "weren't too bad'' with his fitness work paying off.

"But there were a couple of moments there when I was catching my breath. Luckily, it wasn't too open a game.''

Carter said it was "great to see such a big turnout'' at a ground where he played all his age-grade rugby and "had a lot of good memories out here''.

"It was good to make another memory today. When I found out the game was at home, it was pretty special. The game I played five years ago wasn't at home, so this makes it a little more special to have the community come out and support us.''

Carter confirmed he would play for Southbridge next week and would not be ready for the Crusaders' game against England in Christchurch on Tuesday night.

'Bridge captain Shannon Donald, who shifted to second-five to accommodate Carter, was the man of the match after moving back to pivot for the second half as Southbridge ran riot against a Glenmark team reduced to 14 men after a red card to a front row forward for an eye gouging offence.

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