Dan Carter announces retirement from professional rugby; 38-year-old won two World Cups with New Zealand and is the highest points scorer in Test history; “I had nothing to prove and nothing to get my motivation levels up,” admits All Blacks legend
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 20/02/21 8:45am
Dan Carter has announced his retirement from professional rugby, bringing an end to an illustrious career that spanned nearly two decades.
The 38-year-old goes out having won 112 caps for New Zealand and with two World Cup winners’ medals from being part of the victorious 2011 and 2015 sides.
The fly-half’s tally of 1,598 points is also the most by any player in Test history.
Writing on Twitter on Saturday morning, Carter said: “I officially retire from professional rugby today. A sport I’ve played 32 years which has helped shape me into the person I am today.
“I can’t thank everyone who has played a part in my journey enough, particularly you, the fans. Rugby will always be a part of my life. Thank you.”
I officially retire from professional rugby today. A sport I’ve played 32 years which has helped shape me into the person I am today. I can’t thank everyone who has played a part in my journey enough, particularly you, the fans. Rugby will always be a part of my life. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/HTJl85ZcRB
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) February 20, 2021
Carter spent the majority of his club career with Crusaders, making his debut with them in 2003 and staying until the end of his Test career in 2015.
As well as a brief spell with Perpignan between 2008 and 2009, Carter went on to play for fellow French side Racing 92 between 2015 and 2018, before a two-season spell with the Kobe Steelers in Japan.
Carter then returned to New Zealand with the Auckland Blues last year – although he did not play a match – and he says it was that move that made him realise he no longer had the “motivation” to compete at the highest level.
Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Carter said: “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.
“I had nothing to prove and nothing to get my motivation levels up to where they should have been to play against all those young bucks here.
“The more I took time off, the more I realised I didn’t want to play overseas and not having the drive to play here, I knew in my mind the time was right.”
Carter won three Super Rugby championships, two Top 14 titles, and the Japanese league during his club career, but he is still best known for his exploits on the international stage.
His role in helping the All Blacks to back-to-back World Cup wins was a large reason behind his International Rugby Player of the Year honours in 2012 and 2015.
He won the award for the first time in 2005, meaning only his long-time team-mate Richie McCaw can match his three wins.
Although Carter missed the 2011 World Cup final win over France through injury, he made amends four years later by playing all 80 minutes of New Zealand’s 34-17 win over rivals Australia in what proved to be his final Test.
Having ended one of the most successful careers in modern rugby, Carter believes he can now turn his hand to coaching – although he is unsure when he will make the move.
“Rugby is what I know and love and I feel like I have a lot of knowledge that I would like to share,” 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. But I can’t commit.”
Dan Carter’s performance in the second Test of the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour was close enough to perfect that critics and fans alike refer to it as the most dominant individual performance in the modern game.
Fifteen years after the fact, the former All Black spoke exclusively to Sky Sports’ Rugby Retro about the match that changed his career and his life.