New Zealand
All Blacks great Dan Carter talked out of Test retirement by wife
ESPN Staff
December 8, 2015
© Phil Walter/Getty Images

All Blacks superstar Dan Carter was on the brink of international retirement ahead of the Rugby World Cup before he was talked out of the decision by wife, Honor.

The revelation comes as Carter prepares to begin the final stage of his outstanding career when he finally takes to the field for new club Racing 92 - a debut that could come against Northampton in the European Champions Cup this weekend.

Carter has enjoyed an extended break since New Zealand's victory over Australia in the Rugby World Cup final, a triumph that filled one of the few holes in fly-half's rugby resume.

But it almost never eventuated with the Carter revealing he came close to calling time on his Test career following a 2014 season plagued by injury.

"Two weeks before I was scheduled to make my first Test match appearance back with the All Blacks, I broke my leg," Carter wrote in an article for The Players' Tribune in reference to the injury he suffered in the 2014 Super Rugby final.

"After spending six months dedicated to rebuilding myself, I was back where I started. By that point, we were 15 months away from the Rugby World Cup and it was clear that I was at a place where I had neither the health or the form to be part of it.

"For the first time in my life, I began to question my love for this sport. I questioned whether my body could handle it anymore.

"The critics who had been going on about my age started making more sense to me. All those big plays I'd made during my career seemed like memories now. And I began wondering what kind of legacy I'd leave behind if I were to announce my retirement right then.

"I probably could have slipped away from the game, and I don't think anyone would have thought less of me for it.

© AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

"So I spent a lot of time that summer pondering my future and what was next. I was fortunate to have a wife who played hockey for New Zealand, and had a deep understanding of my personal feelings as well the psychology of sports.

"I would tell her that I wanted to retire, that I didn't think I had the talent anymore. She was my rock and my sounding board during this time, and despite my arguments, kept encouraging me. If it wasn't for her and my love for the All Black jersey, I'd probably have long since hung up my cleats.

"But I stuck with it, even though it was a struggle. One day, I'd be confident and feeling good, and the next day I'd be thinking about how I'd go about announcing my retirement.

"After going back and forth on it for a few weeks, I made the decision to announce that I would end my career with the All Blacks after the 2015 World Cup."

While some concerns remained about Carter's form early in the World Cup, his play throughout the knock-out phase proved to be among the best of his 112-Test career.

Twin drop goals, in the semi-final and final with the Springboks and Wallabies, respectively, seemingly shifted the momentum of both encounters, allowing the All Blacks to go on and claim an unprecedented third Webb Ellis crown.

His long-range effort in the final was particularly astonishing.

"I saw an opening and attempted a drop goal from 40 meters out," Carter wrote.

"It was impulsive, it was risky and it's something I absolutely couldn't have attempted unless I had full confidence in my body.

"When it sailed through, the Aussies energy level dropped and ours picked up once again. You could really sense that the momentum shifted back in our favour, and from there we were able to hold on to win the match."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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