All Blacks great admits end is nigh
FORMER All Black Dan Carter admits his illustrious rugby career is nearing an end after failing a medical that annulled his contract with French club Racing 92.
The 37-year-old five-eighth had signed to play out the rest of the Top 14 season as an injury replacement for South African Pat Lambie, who was forced into retirement because of ongoing concussion symptoms.
However, a bulging disc in his upper spine proved problematic when Carter underwent medical testing at the Paris club - where he played three seasons after retiring from Test rugby in 2015.
The record Test points-scorer said the injury had plagued him for several years and may require surgery.
Carter said missing out on the lucrative French deal was disappointing as he was motivated to play out a final season in Europe and repeat the domestic triumph he enjoyed with Racing 92 in 2016.
"But I wasn't cleared to play, so it's a blessing in disguise because I get to spend more time back here in New Zealand," he said.
"I don't have a lot of rugby in me but I'm still loving it and enjoying it, so I guess this long break has helped me to phase into life after rugby."
Carter still has a season to run on his contract with Kobe Steelers, who he helped steer to the Japanese Top League club crown in December while being named the competition's most valuable player.