Million to be made in Japan, Dan
Japan national coach Eddie Jones reckons Dan Carter could command a salary of more than $1 million if he followed Richard Kahui to Japan and activated his sabbatical during next year's Super Rugby campaign.
Kahui, who will join Toshiba on a two-year contract after his commitments with the Chiefs, plans to return to New Zealand before the 2015 World Cup.
Other All Blacks to use the Japanese competitions, which are less brutal than the more arduous European tournaments, to add some zeroes to their bank accounts midway through their careers have been Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams and Tom Donnelly.
Tamati Ellison forced his way back into the All Blacks last year, having spent several seasons in Japan. Brad Thorn also played two seasons before linking with the Highlanders recently.
Although the chances of Thorn and Donnelly breaking back into the All Blacks appear slim after the emergence of Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Brodie Retallick, Nonu and Williams - who reputedly earned a salary of $1.7 million from his Panasonic contract and has made noises about returning to New Zealand before the World Cup - have benefited immensely from their short stints in Asia.
Former Wallabies coach Jones believes Carter has the potential to command a seven-figure salary if he signs a one-season deal with a Japanese club rather than play in the northern hemisphere or take a breakbefore the next World Cup.
"Dan Carter would close[to what Williams earned]. A player of Carter's class would go close to that without a doubt," Jones said.
Like Richie McCaw, who has taken a break from the Crusaders campaign until July, Carter has a clause in his New Zealand Rugby Union contract allowing him to miss a Super Rugby season.
And like Williams, Carter could also enhance his brand and his club's value by the interest he would generate.
"He would be fantastic," Jones said.
"Players like that not only come here and play well, they also teach players around them how to do things at a higher level. When you look at Carter play, he always plays like it is his last game.
"He could make a huge difference."
Although an extended rest next year would rest his body, and no doubt please All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, Carter recently told The Press he had not made a decision.
Despite the recession, many Japanese clubs are still able to spend their allocated budgets and invest in international stars with the ability to gain positive results.
"Some players can change the perception of the club and that is why [clubs] are prepared to stick their money on them," Jones said.
Unlike many European clubs, who valued tight forwards, the Japanese focus was on filling their rosters with ball players in positions such as No 8, halfback, first five-eighth and the midfield.
The likes of Thorn, who was in a "very poor" team, battled to make an impact.
"He certainly tried hard but he was just a bad fit. He was in a team that played like a sevens team that just threw the ball around and struggled," Jones said.
"Certainly off the field, he taught the players a lot about training."
- The Press
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