New Zealand's fly half Dan Carter, considered by many to be the world's best rugby player, was treated to a rapturous welcome in the southern French city of Perpignan, as he prepares to wear the local jersey for six months starting December.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter, one of the best players in the world, arrived here on Sunday before his presentation to new club Perpignan on Monday.
The 26-year-old Carter, who has a six-month contract with French Top 14 club Perpignan from December 1, arrived at El Prat airport smiling and looking in good shape despite his 26-hour trip from Wellington via Hong Kong and London.
Carter, visibly surprised by the welcoming committee of about 20 journalists, said: "I'm a little surprised but it's nice."
Carter, who said he was looking forward to getting to know Perpignan, will be available for his new club following New Zealand's tour of the British Isles (Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England) in November.
He was welcomed at the airport by Perpignan club president Paul Goze and coach Jacques Brunel.
"It's an experience for him as well as for us," said Brunel. "The important thing for now is to give him a warm welcome so that he feels good about his time with us."
The Canterbury Crusaders number 10, who has made 53 appearances for the All Blacks, was set to stay at Canet-en-Roussillon, near Perpignan, on Sunday before meeting the players and staff of his new club on Monday, when he will be presented to fans at the Aime-Giral stadium and then the press.
Carter's first match will probably be against Leicester at Perpignan in the European Cup on December 6.
Perpignan are second in the French Top 14 championship having won four of their five matches including Saturday's tight 5-3 win at south coast neighbours Montpellier.
Date created : 2008-09-22