All Blacks star Carter to stay til 2015

by Staff Writer

New Zealand rugby fans are breathing a sigh of relief after champion All Blacks five eighth Dan Carter signed a new four-year contract ensuring he'll be around till the 2015 World Cup.

The 29-year-old Carter said he had received some "significant offers" to play overseas, particularly in France, but decided to remain in New Zealand through 2015.

His new contract includes a provision which allows him to take a break from the game, either to play overseas or leave rugby for an extended period.

The re-signing of Carter was a key objective for New Zealand rugby, which expects a large number of top players to take up overseas contracts after the 2011 World Cup ends in October.

"We are absolutely delighted Dan has chosen to continue his career in New Zealand and we have the utmost respect for him, knowing he had some serious options to consider," New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said.

"We believe that the contract is a reflection of the high standing that Dan has in the game both here and overseas.

"We have been very flexible in our approach, which again shows how important we think Dan is to the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby."

Tew said the NZRU built in options for Carter to take an extended break from the game if he wishes - either a break from rugby or to play overseas.

Carter said his decision to re-sign with the New Zealand union was driven by his desire to continue playing for the All Blacks, for whom he has scored 1188 Test points.

"This has been an incredibly important decision for me personally and I have received some significant offers to play overseas, which were both flattering and tempting," Carter said. "But in the end, the overriding factor for me was the All Blacks jersey."

All Blacks coach Graham Henry also welcomed the re-signing of Carter, who has been the crux of his successful New Zealand teams since 2003.

"Daniel is the best player in the world in his position, one of the best to have ever worn the All Blacks jersey, and the vice-captain and on field navigator of the All Blacks," Henry said.

Carter's manager Warren Alcock said the player's new contract was the most comprehensive he had been involved in drafting.

The contract means that Carter can continue playing for New Zealand while potentially still taking advantage of lucrative offers to play overseas.

In 2008, Carter was granted a "sabbatical" to play for six months with French club Perpignan. The stint was cut short when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Carter has played 79 tests for the All Blacks and is vying with England's Jonny Wilkinson to be the leading points-scorer in test rugby.

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