TODAY |

Warren Gatland takes cheeky jab at Dan Carter while praising return - 'He's getting a bit old'

Warren Gatland has hailed Dan Carter's shock return as a great addition for Beauden Barrett, the Blues and Super Rugby Aotearoa but he couldn't resist throwing in some cheeky banter as well.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Chiefs coach also expects the All Blacks great's return to help create interest in the competition. Source: 1 NEWS

Carter and the Blues announced the shock return this morning, stating the former All Black was recruited as an injury replacement for Stephen Perofeta.

Gatland said Carter's return is great for everyone involved.

“I think he’ll be great for Beauden Barrett, won’t he?" Gatland said.

"Look, I just think it’s brilliant. It’s great for the game and Dan. It’s an opportunity for him - he probably needs to get out of the house and do a bit of stuff to keep himself interested.

"It's great for media, great for the fans and sponsors. It’s just going to create some interest. I think it’s brilliant.”

Your playlist will load after this ad

Carter will take on a player-mentor role during his time with the Auckland side. Source: 1 NEWS

Gatland and the Chiefs experienced a similar feeling earlier this year when another former All Blacks first-five, Aaron Cruden, announced his return to Super Rugby, although he opted to come back to his original club unlike Carter.

Gatland said it was just great to see top New Zealand players back home.

“I think we all want superstars involved in the game. We want to keep our best players playing in New Zealand."

While discussing experience, though, Gatland took a quick dig at the Blues' new recruit.

"For him to be able to come back to New Zealand and lace his boots up, I just think it’s good for the youngsters," Gatland started.

"He’s been a legend of New Zealand rugby and I don’t see any negatives towards it.

"He’s getting a bit old now, 38 or something," Gatland joked. "But he’s still winning trophies.”

Gatland and the Chiefs open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Highlanders in Dunedin next week before getting a shot at the Blues and potentially Carter in Round 2.