There has been much gnashing of teeth this week about the poor losing form of the Waratahs. At the same time, last weekend’s New Zealand papers ran a story that Dan Carter may return from his Perpignan sabbatical as an Auckland rather than a Canterbury player.
Currently our good man is contracted to the NZRU, but has no provincial attachment.
The reasons advanced for Auckland are that his girlfriend, ex-New Zealand hockey player Honor Dillon, lives there, as does his best mate, Ali Williams (Memo to David Nucifora – he may be a Comical Ali, but his teammates really like him, so it’s best not to wage war with him).
Doubtless, it is also highly relevant that Auckland is the centre of business in New Zealand, and that the Carter brand is big business these days.
Mixing all the above lines of thought together, another idea occurs: why not Sydney for Dan Carter?
If business opportunities are a driving force, then Sydney makes Auckland look like, well, Christchurch.
If the NSWRU was able to offer Andrew Johns north of $500k a year to switch to rugby, then they should certainly be able to offer Carter a very attractive financial package.
The ARU is not an issue, because it has given Australian franchises the green light to recruit a marquee foreigner, a right exercised by Queensland this year in signing Daniel Braid.
The NZRU is potentially an issue, in that officially a player is only eligible for the All Blacks if he is playing in New Zealand.
But everyone knows that one day this levee is going to break.
It would be hard for the NZRU to argue against New Zealand eligibility if Carter were playing in Sydney because it is as close to Auckland as is Dunedin, and because Carter would be playing in exactly the same competition as all other New Zealand-eligible players.
Not to mention that the NZRU would be idiotic to exclude their gifted pivot.
Certainly Carter is exactly what the Waratahs need.
For years they have been a team replete with solid foot soldiers who have lacked only a brilliant general to direct them around the park. That would be Carter.
If Robbie Deans can relocate to Sydney, then why not his star pupil?