Wellington – All Blacks legend Dan Carter, a three-time world player of the year and double World Cup winner, announced his retirement on Saturday.
The fly-half, who remains the record points-scorer in both test and Super Rugby, said he was “sad” to call it quits.
“I’m officially retiring from professional rugby,” Carter wrote on Instagram.
“A sport I’ve played for 32 years which has helped shape me into the person I am today.”
Carter, who turns 39 in two weeks, said the “timing is right,” after nearly two decades at the top.
As accolades flooded social media — with major rugby-playing nations all paying homage — the sport’s governing body World Rugby described him as “one of the best to have ever played the game.”
Carter played the first of his 112 tests for New Zealand in 2003, scored a record 1,598 points during his international career and was the world player of the year in 2005, 2012 and 2015.
His performance in the second test against the British & Irish Lions in 2005, in which he scored two tries, four conversions and five penalties to help the All Blacks to a 48-18 victory, saw him hailed as “the perfect 10.”
Carter lifted the World Cup in 2011 and again in 2015, before retiring from test rugby and going on to win the French Top 14 crown with Racing 92.
He then signed a two-year deal with Japan’s Kobe Steelers in 2018 and helped them win the Top League competition.
The South Island native has three Super Rugby titles from his 13-year stint with the Canterbury Crusaders and remains the competition’s top points-scorer with 1,708.
Last year, he surprised the rugby world by joining the Auckland Blues as injury cover when New Zealand launched its domestic Super Rugby competition.
He told the New Zealand Herald that was when it hit home that he no longer had the motivation to push himself as hard as was needed.
“I play to be the best player out on the field. That is my drive and it always has been and I just didn’t have that drive back here in New Zealand,” he said.
With too much uncertainty over traveling abroad, he lost interest in playing overseas again, and decided it was time to retire and spend more time with his wife and three children, with a fourth on the way.
Despite his illustrious achievements, Carter never lost his modest demeanour, with acclaimed referee Nigel Owens praising him for being “a true gentleman” on and off the field.
Wallaby great Matt Giteau tweeted it was “a huge honour to play against u as many times as I did. Was less of an honour to lose that many times as well.”
“Huge congrats on an outstanding career,” added former England star Jason Robinson, whilst Springbok Bryan Habana referred to his “incredible career.”
Carter was an astute tactician on the field, and has had offers to move into coaching, but said that is not for him at this stage.
“My mentality is all about winning and if I got into coaching I would be all in and I would commit to that. I would work around the clock and I know how hard coaches work. They lose their weekends. They are in before the players, leave after them and work on the days the players are recovering,” he said.
“My reasons for retiring are to spend more time with the family. I would love to be involved in some way. Exactly what it is yet I am not sure.”
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