Two-time World Cup winner Dan Carter is set to make a surprise return to Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues, New Zealand media reported Thursday.
Carter, a three-time world player of the year, moved back to New Zealand earlier this year after the coronavirus-enforced shutdown of rugby in Japan, where he was playing for Kobe Steelers.
According to several media outlets, the 38-year-old agreed a short-term deal to play for the Blues in Super Rugby Aotearoa -- a domestic version of the southern hemisphere competition which is due to start this month.
Radio New Zealand said Blues coach Leon MacDonald alerted his players to the recruitment coup in a message on Wednesday.
"His motive is to give back to NZ Rugby by sharing his experience/knowledge with us," it said.
"Great opportunity to learn from one of the games' greats," Macdonald wrote.
It said the champion fly-half was coming into the squad as cover for the injured Stephen Perofeta.
The Blues already have incumbent All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett -- himself a two-time world player of the year -- meaning Carter may fill the role of supersub off the bench.
Carter played the first of his 112 Tests for the All Blacks in 2003, scored a record 1,598 points during his international career and was the world player of the year in 2005, 2012 and 2015.
He first played for French club Racing 92 after retiring from Test rugby following the 2015 World Cup, before signing a two-year deal with Kobe Steelers in 2018.
Carter is a two-time World Cup winner