Wellington (AFP)

Retirement may not yet have struck for New Zealander Dan Carter: former best player in the world of rugby, 38, is close to joining the Auckland Blues, according to media reports in New Zealand Wednesday.

The former All Blacks opener, twice winner of the World Cup (2011, 2015) and elected three times best player in the world (2005, 2012 and 2015), returned to New Zealand this year after the cancellation of the Japanese championship, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The former international was playing in the Kobelco Steelers, a team based in Kobe (central Japan), which he joined in 2018 after three seasons in France in the jersey of Racing 92.

According to several New Zealand newspapers, Carter has agreed to continue his career in the Blues and compete in Super Rugby Aotearoa, a championship involving franchises from New Zealand only.

According to Radio New Zealand, Blues coach Leon MacDonald sent a message to his players notifying them of Carter's arrival to compensate for Stephen Perofeta's injury.

"His goal is to give back to the New Zealand Rugby Federation what he has given him by sharing his experience and knowledge of the game with us," explained the coach in this message.

The Auckland Blues already have All Blacks opener Beauden Barrett in their squad, which means Carter could be No. 2 in the rotation.

Carter scored 1,598 world record points in 112 caps with the All Blacks.

© 2020 AFP