Carter relishing French challenge

Dan Carter
Dan Carter

Hong Kong - Dan Carter said Wednesday that while turning out for Racing 92 was "not playing for the All Blacks", he was relishing the new challenge of the Top 14 in France.

Speaking ahead of a friendly match against Super Rugby's Highlanders team at Hong Kong's Siu Sai Wan Stadium on Saturday, Carter told AFP he was looking forward to running out against some of his fellow New Zealanders, and World Cup-winning teammates such as Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa.

"To be honest I thought (last season) would be the last time I got to play against the Highlanders," said the World Player of the Year who led the All Blacks to a second consecutive World Cup title last year before joining up with Paris-based Racing 92 on a lucrative three-year deal.

"To be here in Hong Kong, I'm looking forward to playing against some of my old teammates and some of my sort of old rivals as well so it should be lots of fun."

Carter has been in great form for Racing, linking up fantastically with Wales scrumhalf Mike Phillips and France's Maxime Machenaud behind a strong pack and exciting backline to help his side into the European Cup quarter finals and to the head of the Top 14 table.

"It's just the change that I needed," said the 33-year-old, the world record international points scorer with 1,598 who amassed 112 caps during a 12-year Test career.

Carter is not new to the Top 14, however, after a brief stint with Perpignan in 2009, when his team won the league but in which he played only five matches due to a ruptured achilles tendon.

"I'm really enjoying my time in France," he said of his move to the French capital.

"It's not playing for the All Blacks but it's just the new challenge that I needed, so I'm really enjoying it."

The match against the Highlanders, the reigning Super rugby champions, will be the third time in three seasons Racing have played a one-off match in Hong Kong, falling during the Six Nations when the Top 14 takes a break.

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