Montpellier scrum-half Justin Marshall has provided a few words of warning for his former New Zealand team-mate, Dan Carter, who is to make the transition into French Rugby. Carter will join Perpignan in a very financially-benefiting move, but Marshall believes it will take the 26-year-old plenty of time to adjust to his new surroundings.
Marshall has pinpointed a number of factors that will slow down Carter’s adjusting period in France. He said that Carter will have to cope without knowing anybody and getting used to being around new faces, but then there is they style of team to take into account, the different training schedules and of course, the language barrier. Overall, Marshall believes that the New Zealand star will be dealt a harsh ‘reality check’ during the next few weeks.
So, does the Montpellier man have a point? Will it take Carter a number of weeks to produce his best form for Perpignan? He may not be at his extraordinary best early on, but he will be a fantastic player for the French side – he is too good not to be.
Fair enough, there will be some issues regarding settling in but that is the same with anything in life. When you move somewhere new, you won’t necessarily hit the ground running on your first day, but when you are as talented as Dan Carter, it is made a lot, lot easier. Marshall – who joined Montpellier at the start of this season – obviously had some issues when first joining them, but that doesn’t mean Carter will have those same problems or let them affect his performances.
As for Perpignan, well they have fared fairly well this season so far without their latest recruit. They sit in 3rd place in the Top 14 with five wins and two draws and despite being 10 points behind leaders Stade Francais, they will be happy with their start. The rugby odds at the beginning of the season suggested a top three finish for them and at this moment, they are on course for just that.
Nevertheless, they will be hoping that the arrival of Carter will give them that extra something to compete for the Top 14 title. They have splashed the cash to secure his services and will be concerned if his presence doesn’t have the desired impact. As much as things will depend on Carter dealing with the hard-hitting of this league, I think he will excel, regardless of the fact that being the ‘pin-up’ that he is, many loose forwards will target him.
Despite Justin Marshall’s warning though, I would be happy placing a rugby bet on Carter having a very positive effect on Perpignan’s season. They have a number of talented players, like Maxime Mermoz, as well as Carter so he should just add to what they have already got. It’s 9th placed Dax for them on the 25th October and it will interesting to see if Carter is involved.
As for this weekend, Carter’s new side take on Ospreys in the Heineken Cup looking to add to their victory in the first game of the tournament against Treviso. Ospreys on the other hand had a narrow defeat in their first game to Leicester. Overall, Perpignan will be favourites to make it two wins from two matches and this will be used as a platform to help improve on their quarter-final finish last time around.
By Thomas Rooney