Dan Carter refutes reports of Japan deal
RICHARD KNOWLER & MATT MARKHAM
Dan Carter has laughed off speculation he has signed with a Japanese club.
Reports the All Blacks and Crusaders first five-eighth is about to ink a deal with the Toyota club and would miss the All Blacks' end-of-season tour were dismissed by Carter when he finished training in Christchurch today.
Carter, who was again named to start at No 10 against the Hurricanes at the Cake Tin on Friday night, said he has yet to decide whether to activate the sabbatical in his New Zealand Rugby Union contract.
"I don't know where that has come from but I think it is bad reporting, again,'' Carter said.
"And (it is) speculation because I am nowhere near signing any deal or getting closer to deciding what I am going to do or whether I take my sabbatical or not.
"I am still not any closer to making a decision.''
Carter confirmed his managers from the Essentially Group have been talking to offshore clubs in Europe and Japan but said he had not sighted or agreed to sign any contracts.
Nor did he incline he was remotely close to doing so.
"My management group are just throwing it out there, and talking to a few clubs and players, but it's still pretty early stages.
"And for me personally I still haven't made a decision.''
Deciding whether to miss an All Blacks tour was a big part of this process, he said.
Should he elect to take a break from the game, Carter said Europe was a strong contender, but also added that the closeness to home of Japan was appealing, giving nothing away on which part of the world he was considering making a temporary home.
"I've experienced Europe for a sabbatical and really enjoyed that.
"I loved my time in France and one thing I did realise even though I only played five games was how physical the footy was.''
When quizzed on when he could be expected to make a decision about the possible break, Carter remained uncertain.
"I honestly don't know, because it's the start of a new season I really want to put my focus on here and now,
"I've dealt with contracts and things before and it can play on your mind a bit, I just want to start this season well give everything to the Crusaders and as the season gets on a bit then I'll start looking a bit more seriously about what I want to do."
Carter, who is expecting a baby with wife Honor in April, said he has not ruled out taking a complete break from rugby.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has done just that will not play until July at the earliest.
Carter, 31, is contracted through to the next World Cup.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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