Dan Carter has committed to the Crusaders and All Blacks for another four years.
Carter has also negotiated a six-month sabbatical clause in the contract, like the one that saw him play for French Top 14 side Perpignan in 2009. Carter cited his desire to continue playing for the All Blacks as the primary reason for re-signing.
Carter is the only senior Kiwi flyhalf to re-sign for the 2012 season, with Mike Delany (Japan), Stephen Brett (Japan) and Luke McAlister (France) confirmed departures, while Stephen Donald is expected to move abroad.
Carter said: ‘It is a special moment – one I have been chewing over for the last six months. Obviously when you are making a big decision like this there’s a lot of speculation and talk and to have that put behind me is a relief and it’s great to have security in my life; to know what I am doing for my future is fantastic.
‘There were a few different reasons for signing but the underlying factor was the black jersey. If I went overseas I would not be able to wear the black jersey and that was a big reason for staying. It is not a given but it is a wee challenge for me.’
On the sabbatical, Carter said: ‘There is flexibility in the contract with the sabbatical and I am thankful to the rugby union for being flexible because four years is a long time and things can change.
‘I have not thought too much about that though. There is a playing and non-playing sabbatical element to the contract and I have not thought about that to be honest. It’s more about having the flexibilty in case I want to take up that option.’
The New Zealand Herald’s sources have confirmed the deal will make Carter the highest paid player in New Zealand alongside Richie McCaw, who is set to follow Carter’s lead and re-sign with the NZRU in the coming days.