French Top 14
Carter lured by Heineken Cup opportunity
September 23, 2008
Dan Carter was presented to Perpignan fans during his whirlwind visit to the south of France © Getty Images
New Zealand star Daniel Carter revealed the lure of Heineken Cup rugby attracted him to French side Perpignan. The All Blacks fly-half will join USAP at the start of December, after New Zealand's autumn internationals, on a seven-month contract worth a reported 700,000 euros.
Carter wants to improve as a player during his brief stay in the south of France and he believes playing in Europe's elite competition, which kicks off in the second week of October, will allow him to do that.
When asked why he had chosen to come to Perpignan, he said: ''Firstly because Perpignan are playing in the Heineken Cup. "It is a competition that I have followed closely on the television and which I have a great respect for. For me, the chance to compete in the Heineken Cup is a real source of motivation.
"I have spoken to Scott Robertson (the former All Blacks flanker) who played here. He told me about the positive aspects of this club and of life here. But what really attracted me first off was the possibility of playing in a competition like the Heineken Cup, against the best teams in the northern hemisphere.''
Carter is currently in Perpignan, where he has completed the formalities of his transfer and met his new team-mates and club officials. He will now look for accommodation for when he comes back here in December, before flying to England on Wednesday and returning to New Zealand on Thursday.
Perpignan are regular participants in the Heineken Cup but are not one of the stand-out teams in France. Toulouse, Stade Francais, Biarritz and now Clermont-Auvergne are arguably the four leading clubs in the Top 14 and Perpignan will be hoping to make that step up when they have Carter in their ranks.
But Carter warned: "I am not coming here to try to be a super hero. "I am going to try to come quietly into the team, and bring them a little more.
"I think it is important I embrace the Catalan culture. Many people have told me that some players have had trouble adapting when they come to play in France. So I hope this first visit will allow me to have an easier period of transition for when I return in December.
"Having sorted out all the practical details well in advance, I can concentrate fully on rugby and feel at ease from the first day.''
Perpignan are in Pool Three in the Heineken Cup, with Leicester, Benetton Treviso and the Ospreys. Carter's first match in the Heineken Cup should be Perpignan's visit to Leicester on December 6.
© PA Sport
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