Dan Carter will not be involved when the All Blacks take on The British & Irish Lions next year but the World Cup winner insists there is nothing more special than playing against the famous red jersey.
Carter pulled the strings in fantastic fashion the last time the Lions came to the Land of the Long White Cloud in 2005 as the All Blacks secured a 3-0 Test series victory.
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Since then Carter has gone on to establish himself as one of the greatest players of the modern era and hung up his international boots after the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup win last year at Twickenham.
Now at Racing 92 in the Top 14, the 34-year-old will not be coming out of retirement for the Lions Tour but he cannot wait to see the sparks fly next year when the tourists take on the World Champions.
“The Lions get it every four years but we (New Zealand) get it once every 12,” he told The Times.
“When I played in 2005 I knew I would never get another chance.
Now it's time to just chill & watch my other brothers. Go the ABs! pic.twitter.com/dWl69Om5h9
— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) June 18, 2016
“It’s hugely special to Kiwis, with everything that goes with it – all the publicity.
“When I played against the Lions in 2005 it was some of the best rugby I’ve ever played, The press was amazing.
“I never thought about hanging on for the Lions. I had been questioning how long I could play for years into 2015 and there were times when I was going to walk away because it was tough. It was perfect timing after winning the World Cup.”
Carter admits it was tough viewing the first All Blacks Test of 2016 but since then he has adjusted to life after international rugby.
And the All Blacks have looked impressive in life post-Carter and Richie McCaw, winning their first six Tests of 2016.
“I have not been surprised,” he added. “They’ve probably got better. A lot of people outside the All Black environment thought there would be a dip because seven leaders had left but we had systems in place for years to guard against that.”
Last week Warren Gatland was announced as the Head Coach for the Lions who will tour in 2017 and Carter has some words of advice for him.
“Gatland’s job is to create a new culture, not just replicate what he’s done with Wales or what Eddie Jones has done with England – it’s tough to bring four cultures together as one,” he added.
“The pressure is there every game, teams get momentum and it might only last ten minutes but you suddenly feel helpless. That’s when you need something to cling on to.”