Daniel Carter doesn't have a sabbatical planned for next
year but the new addition to his family could enforce one and
it has the potential to impact badly on the Crusaders.
His All Blacks' and Crusaders' captain Richie McCaw won't
play for his Super Rugby team until after the June tests
against France at the earliest, and although Carter will be
expected to report for duty at Rugby Park in Christchurch on
January 28, chances are he will get three or four weeks off
at a crucial time for Todd Blackadder's men.
Carter's wife Honor is due to give birth in early April -
around the time his Super Rugby team is in South Africa and
Australia playing the Stormers, Sharks and Western Force;
fixtures which are traditionally extremely testing.
His availability for that trip must be in doubt, but
Blackadder today (Wed) was taking a positive view, saying he
would meet Carter, along with the rest of his All Blacks, in
the next few weeks after they returned to Christchurch.
The Crusaders' coach wasn't sure what the 30-year-old's plans
around his baby would be, but said: "Traditionally your
priorities shift a bit when you have a baby, and so they
should, so we'll just have to sit down and discuss the best
Carter commutes to Christchurch from Auckland, where wife
Honor lives and works, an arrangement which could be tested
by the addition of a baby.
However, Blackadder said he wasn't too concerned about
Carter's recurring injuries. The world's best first-five's
trip abroad for the Crusaders might be in doubt, but he has
rated himself a good chance to wear the No10 jersey against
England at Twickenham on Sunday morning after a calf injury
prevented him from playing Wales at Cardiff.
Carter's most recent issue has come after he spent a long
spell on the sidelines with the Crusaders last season due to
a hamstring injury, which followed last year's World
Cup-ending groin problem.
"Obviously he's had a few injury issues but they're all quite
random," Blackadder said. "He's a dynamic, explosive, player
who plays the game at a high intensity. He also puts a lot of
strain on his body with his goalkicking."
Having signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union until after
the 2015 World Cup, Carter is highly likely to ask for a
sabbatical in 2014 - and given what McCaw said in a recent
interview with the Guardian newspaper about his impending
break, that is likely to be something Carter would look
McCaw said of turning up at Stadio Olimpico for the All
Blacks test against Italy knowing Sam Cane would be wearing
his No7 jersey: "It felt a bit weird even if I'd prepared
myself. During the week I was fine and even when it was the
captain's run I thought: 'Aw well, done a few of those'.
"But when I got to the ground and felt the buzz I thought:
'Jeepers, I miss not pulling on the boots today'. That was
the moment when I thought: 'I haven't had enough of this
"It's also made me enjoy these last few weeks because I
haven't been thinking: 'Oh, I've only got four weeks off and
then I'll be straight back into it.' There's light at the end
of the tunnel."