Carter likely to take a break

Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden

Dan Carter likely to follow Conrad Smith, Richie McCaw in an extended break from rugby.

Daniel Carter, having received offers to play in France and Japan in the first half of next year, is likely to reject them all in favour of taking a complete break from the game.

The IRB World Player of the Year is understood to be inclined to follow the lead of All Black captain Richie McCaw and stand down from all rugby in the first half of next year, instead of playing in Japan, as previously thought.

It is probable that Carter will be available to tour Europe in November and then invoke his sabbatical clause to allow him to skip Super Rugby next year.

He remains determined to play a critical role for the All Blacks at the next World Cup, but he’ll turn 32 next March and is conscious that he’s been troubled by niggling injuries since he ripped his groin in the pool rounds of the World Cup. Only last week he expressed his support for the creation of a global season – arguing that players need longer than six weeks to prepare for the 10-month onslaught of non-stop rugby.

Playing in Japan at the end of this year holds appeal. It would be financially lucrative, the rugby would be fast and aerobic but not particularly physical while it would also provide an opportunity to sample an intriguing part of the world.

Fellow All Black Conrad Smith confirmed this week that he will be taking a five-month break at the end of this year. He is another who wants to make the 2015 World Cup and feels he won’t get there without the time off.

Other older All Blacks are going to be handed sabbaticals of sorts at the end of this year when they are not selected for the tour to Europe.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen feels some of his ageing warriors could be rejuvenated by an extended pre-season. A six-month break for Carter would allow him to build his core strength and better equip himself to avoid picking up the soft tissue injuries that have affected him in the past year.