I’d consider playing for Hong Kong in Andrew Forrest’s Indo-Pacific competition, says Dan Carter ahead of Natixis Cup
The former All Black star admits he would be ‘silly not to have a look’ at the concept as his Racing 92 prepare to take on South Africa’s Sharks at Aberdeen
There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and the day Dan Carter might step out for Hong Kong but the former All Black star says he would be “silly not to have a look at it” if the opportunity arises.
There has been talk of Hong Kong fielding a team in Andrew Forrest’s Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship, if and when the mining magnate’s answer to the Western Force being cut from Super Rugby comes to fruition.
There has also been talk of each team – to be sourced from the likes of Hong Kong, Fiji, Singapore and Japan – featuring a number of marquee players. Carter, in town for this Saturday’s Natixis Cup, entertained the idea.
“I’m getting a bit old now, it might be as a coach,” he said as his Racing 92 side trained at King’s Park on Wednesday. “To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it.
“Obviously when ideas like that are put out you kind of wait for them to be set in stone and become official before you start looking at opportunities like that. But if it was to happen, you’d be silly not to have a look at it.”
One thing that is confirmed is Carter’s move to the Kobe Steelers in the Japan Top League later this year and he is eager to do his bit to grow rugby in Asia, starting this week in Hong Kong.
Racing tackle South Africa’s Sharks at Aberdeen on Saturday and Carter hopes to give something back to the community.
“It’s good to be back in Hong Kong, I’ve been here a few times playing and obviously for the Hong Kong Sevens so I got to experience that,” Carter said.
“It’s a great place, obviously a big expat community with a lot of rugby followers and lovers. It’s an amazing sport, rugby, and it’s always good when you’re able to try to help grow the sport and maybe influence and inspire some young people.”
After fighting his way back from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for three months, Carter is ready to wow the Hong Kong crowds on Saturday, even if that may be in a limited role.
“We will have to wait and see [how much I play], we have actually got some pretty good young number 10s out here that we have brought along to give a crack, so there is plenty of depth in my position,” he said.
“I finally got on top of the injury and have played a little bit of game time the last couple of weeks. If anything with these injury setbacks, you soon know whether you still have the love for the sport or not.
“Not being able to contribute to the team was pretty hard for me and really motivated me to work hard and do everything I could to get back out on the pitch.”
Carter is excited about his impending move to Japan, which he says is built on being closer to family and friends but was also influenced by next year’s World Cup in the country.
“Leading into the next World Cup and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, I couldn’t think of a better place to be living and playing rugby than Japan over the next couple of years,” he said.
“That was a bit of a part of my decision to play there, as well as being a lot closer to home, and the season structure means I get a lot of free time to spend back in New Zealand with family.”