Dan Carter

All Blacks great Dan Carter makes winning rugby return in Japan after neck surgery

Carter - who will turn 38 in March - had surgery last March to mend a cervical spine problem and spent seven weeks in a brace.

But he was back to kick off an 18th professional rugby season in the opening round of the Top League on Sunday.

Carter had not played since December 2018 when he guided Kobelco to the title and picked up Japan's player of the year award.

But the Southbridge scion was soon back into his groove, scoring a try and kicking five conversions and a penalty goal a 50-16 win over the Canon Eagles before 23,004 fans.

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Dan Carter voted rugby player of the decade

Carter beat former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw in the final.

There were 16-players up for the gong and fans voted over a week on head to head clashes to determine the ultimate winner.

All Black halfback Aaron Smith, first-five Beauden Barrett and outgoing captain Kieran Read were also in the mix.

The 37-year-old Carter won World Cups in 2011 and 2015, playing a staring role in the latter after many had written him off as past his prime.

He played 112 tests, winning 99 of them, after debuting in 2003.

Dan Carter's warning to Eddie Jones' players ahead of Twickenham test

Carter featured in four World Cups for the All Blacks, winning two of them in 2011 and 2015.

His last game for New Zealand was in the 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham when New Zealand beat Australia 34-17.

Sunday's clash will be the first time since the final that the All Blacks have played in England, and the first time taking on the Red Roses since 2014.

Carter feels the All Blacks' fast-paced game has taken them to greater heights and will trouble England when the two teams face off for the first time since 2014.

Carter racing to be fit for French semis

Carter missed Racing's 15-12 defeat to Leinster in Bilbao due to a hamstring injury but could be fit to face either Toulouse or Castres in Lyon on May 26 in the Top 14 semi-final, according to backs coach Laurent Labit.

If not available in two weeks' time, Carter, who will leave the French side for Kobelco Steelers in Japan at the season's end, is "sure" to be fit for the June 3 final in Paris, Labit said.

Carter fined for drink driving

The 35-year-old two-time World Cup winner who plays at Paris club Racing 92 was arrested in February on charges that can carry custodial sentences of two years.

Carter, who played 112 Tests for New Zealand, lost a sponsorship with Land Rover over the incident, which dented his image as one of rugby's most marketable players.

The athlete was pulled over and breathalysed in Paris' chic 17th arrondissement and returned a reading showing a level of 0.87mg/l, which would see a driver lose six points from their licence.

All Blacks great Dan Carter 'not well' at Racing 92

The rugby star this month signed a two-year deal with the Kobe Steelers in Japan, starting in June when the current French season ends.

But Carter has appeared out-of-sorts in recent times, French journalist Catherine Field told NewstalkZB on Tuesday, with him cutting a sorry figure during his last appearance for the Paris club, in October. 

"He's not well, even if you talk to the man who owns the club. Dan Carter is 35 years old, has played rugby most of his life, his body is telling him it is time to take it easy," Field said.

Carter's Japan deal blasted

Boudjellal had promised plenty of strong opinion in his new forum on Eurosport and he didn't disappoint with his opening effort.

Carter, with his ageing body, has decided against extending his contract at glamour Paris club Racing 92 and instead has signed a two-year deal with the Kobe Steelers, starting once the current French season ends in June next year.

Carter off to Japan - report

The bi-weekly rugby newspaper Midi-Olympique has reported the 112-test All Black will leave Paris club Racing 92 in June to take up a lucrative deal with a Japanese team.

The 35-year-old is in the final year of his contract at Racing 92 and is reportedly close to agreeing which Japanese club he'll sign with, for what's likely to be his last contract as a professional player.

Carter left New Zealand rugby after the successful 2015 World Cup campaign and last year helped his club win the Top 14, defeating Toulon in the final. 

Carter tipped to retire

Another calf injury prevented Carter from playing in the Top 14 last weekend.

The All Blacks great had only just returned from a month's absence the week before with critics suggesting he "lacked rhythm, accuracy and was very far from the flamboyant and precise starter that led the club to championship glory in 2016".

The 35-year-old has managed just three Top 14 games this season and Racing have already moved to bolster his position by signing Springboks star Pat Lambie.

Carter absent for French loss

La Rochelle - France's minor premiers last season - celebrated a 16-9 home win over Racing 92 in a seventh round match on Sunday.

Carter has not played for three weeks and his absence prompted L'Equipe newspaper rugby writer Richard Escot to speculate that Racing were "undoubtedly preserving" Carter and former Springbok Patrick Lambie for upcoming European Cup matches against the Leicester Tigers and Irish province Munster.

Maxime Machenaud, who replaced Carter at first five-eighths, scored all Racing's points with three penalties to ensure a defensive bonus point.