Wellington (AFP)

All Black legend Dan Carter, former best rugby player in the world, announced Thursday that he has joined the Auckland Blues to compete in Super Rugby Aotearoa, a championship of New Zealand franchises.

"For me, this is a chance to mentor young players and serve New Zealand rugby," said the 38-year-old former All Blacks opener.

Dan Carter, twice winner of the World Cup (2011, 2015) and elected three times best player in the world (2005, 2012 and 2015), had left his Japanese team of Kobelco Steelers in April, while the Japan Championship had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. He had not specified whether or not he intended to pursue his career.

He has not played in New Zealand since his retirement as an international in 2015. Former player of the Canterbury Crusaders, in which he played for 13 years, he holds three Super Rugby titles and still holds the record for the number of points scored in this competition with a total of 1,708.

According to Radio New Zealand, Auckland Blues coach Leon MacDonald recently sent a message to his players warning 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, formerly regarded as a breeding ground for the best New Zealand rugby players, have been ranked dead last in Super Rugby since 2014. They already have All Blacks opener Beauden Barrett in their workforce, which means that Carter could be N. 2 in job rotation.

Dan Carter, author of 1,598 world record points in 112 caps with the All Blacks, won the Japanese Top League in December 2018 with Kobe.

He wanted to finish the 2018-19 French Top 14 season with Racing 92, but, due to a neck problem, the French National Rugby League had forbidden him.

© 2020 AFP