Two-time World Cup winner Dan Carter lobbed at Blues training on Thursday morning, five years after he left New Zealand and Super Rugby.
Rumours of Carter's impending return to New Zealand rugby emerged on Wednesday evening after a WhatsApp message from Blues coach Leon MacDonald was leaked. All that was then left to confirm was the sight of the champion playmaker in a Blues strip, which the team ratified when they released a video on social media of Carter pulling on his gear on Thursday morning.
Carter said he had been in discussions with MacDonald over the past few weeks and that the decision to have a run with the Blues ticked all the necessary boxes.
"I realised I really enjoyed spending more time with my family, and that I miss rugby," he said.
"Leon is a good mate and we spoke about me helping out. For me it is a chance to mentor some young players and to give back to New Zealand rugby.
"I have not played for several months so it will be a number of weeks before I will be ready to be considered to play. And then only if my form warrants it.
"It's an exciting opportunity to train in the same city that my kids go to school in and my family are currently living.
"It will also be nice to share my experience with some of the young talent they have here at the Blues."
Carter played 13 seasons with the Crusaders before plying his trade in France and Japan. He was a part of four championship winning teams at the Crusaders.
MacDonald's leaked WhatsApp message stated Carter would join the "squad as injury cover for Stevie [Stephen Perofeta]".
"His motive is to give back to NZ Rugby by sharing his experience/knowledge with us," MacDonald wrote.
MacDonald said it would be a great opportunity for players to learn from "one of the greats of the game".
Carter, 38, spent three seasons in Paris with Racing 92 before joining Kobelco Steelers in Japan in 2018.
The former All Blacks fly-half will provide backup for Beauden Barrett, who's yet to take the field for the Blues, but his addition also gives MacDonald the opportunity to shift the former Hurricanes pivot to fullback in a setup the All Blacks used to accommodate Richie Mo'unga.
Carter retired from international rugby following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he was named three-time World Rugby Player of the year.
The Blues begin their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Hurricanes in Auckland on Saturday week, while Carter could line up against the Crusaders when the two sides meet in Christchurch on Jul. 11.