All Blacks and Crusaders flyhalf Dan Carter will begin his return from a six month sabbatical on Saturday when he turns out to play in a minor club match in rural Canterbury.
Carter will line up for the Southbridge club which is where he began his playing career and will play in a local championships match against Glenmark.
Thirty-two-year-old Carter was granted a six month sabbatical from playing rugby as part of his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Carter says that he does not expect to play for the full 80 minutes of the match and that he, “just ease my way back into it on what will more than likely be a heavy, wet track.”
“I am probably only looking at 40 minutes or so, but it will just be good to get some game time,” Carter told Stuff.
Carter also appeared for Southbridge back in 2009 when he returned from an Achilles tendon injury.
The All Black star has been keeping fit whilst on sabbatical and said that he had been encouraged by his progress in the gym and training fields since cranking-up his training in recent months.
“Probably for the last six weeks I have been itching to get back.”
“The more intense the training gets, the more you just want to get out there and play. It has picked up over the last six weeks and I am now at a stage where I am ready to play.
“There is a lot of motivation there.”
Carter said that he has no concerns about his body taking the hits against Glenmark and revealed that he has already been training with his former team mates.
“I have been training with the Crusaders this week, the intensity has been pretty high there. And also up in Auckland with friends I have used the Auckland academy to do a bit of physical work.”
Carter had ankle surgery late last year after the All Blacks European tour and he said that it was a succesful operation and that he had also fully recovered from the Achilles tendon injury that forced him from the field in his most recent test in London.
“The ankle feels fine. I have been training now for the last couple of months at a pretty high intensity and am just keen to get back playing.”