UPDATE: All Blacks legend Dan Carter is joining the Blues for Super Rugby Aotearoa but coach Leon McDonald says the flyhalf isn't in it for money.
Carter trained with the Blues for the first time on Thursday after being recruited as an injury replacement for rising star Stephen Perofeta, who fractured his foot earlier this year.
The 38-year-old accepted an offer from MacDonald to be part of the team in a bid to give back to New Zealand rugby.
Carter hasn't played Super Rugby since 2015, plying his trade in France and Japan in recent years after retiring from international duties.
He was most recently playing with Japanese powerhouse Kobelco Steelers but with the Top League season prematurely cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic and his contract ending with the club, Carter became a free agent.
Speaking to media on Thursday, MacDonald was quick to point out that there was no large payday in the offing for the international superstar, rather just a chance to help out the next generation.
"It definitely wasn't money, he's not getting rich doing it," MacDonald said.
"You know why he's playing, I think I got the timing right, asking him just as he got out of lockdown and he wasn't thinking straight.
"He's a man of his word so he couldn't go back on it."
Carter is currently based in Auckland with wife Honor and their three children and he said that was part of his reasoning for agreeing to join the Blues for the moment, despite his path to this point being synonymous with the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The longtime Crusaders 10 said he spoke to Crusaders coach Scott Robertson about his reasoning for the decision as well.
“I guess this gives me an opportunity to do what I love and to be able to go home at the end of the day and be with my family,” he said.
“Being [able to play] ... in the same city where my kids go to school is a big factor behind me being here today.”
Carter isn't expecting to pull on the boots for next week's Super Rugby Aotearoa round one, though, with injuries and the cancellation of the Top League season limiting his opportunities in recent months.
"At this stage I have to be realistic. I've played six games in the last 18 months," he said.
"It's going to be a process...no contact the last three months. The games in Japan gave me a lot of confidence to bounce back from the neck injury I had. Once I can get some work under the belt with the trainings, I want to be out there competing.
"That's what all sportspeople miss - that competitive edge and even just running around out there today brought that back."
Rumours about Carter's addition were swirling on Wednesday evening after atext message from Blues coach MacDonald to staff and players was leaked confirming the impending move.
The flyhalf will join current All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett at the Blues.
Barrett has not played a game for his new team yet, after a World Cup sabbatical delayed the start to his season, but he has impressed since reuniting with his teammates post-isolation.
The Blues open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign on Sunday June 14 against the Hurricanes.