Beginning his term in the Japan Top League, former-All Black Dan Carter has debuted for his club side, the Kobelco Steelers.
In a winning effort, the outstanding first-five showed a few nerves as he helped his side win 20-36, over the Suntory Sungoliath team in Tokyo. Those nerves would have been that he wanted to demonstrate that his inclusion in the side was due to his effort, and not simply from his established career.
Entering the Japanese competition after several successful seasons in French rugby, Dan Carter might have noticed a change in the levels – but his comments post-match were complimentary of the standards.
Dan Carter’s first match with Kobelco Steelers in Japan Top League
For the three-time World Rugby Player of the Year, joining a new competition like the Japan Top League might seem like a ‘retirement league’. If it were not for the player’s professional attitude, it might be. Some players use Japan and Europe as their golden handshake, for Carter, he wants to prove himself one more time.
He told Rich Freeman that “no matter what you have achieved in your career, when you come to a new club you still have to prove yourself and that was a real objective for me tonight.
“You have to earn the respect of your teammates. I wanted to prove myself and I’d like to think I did that tonight.”
But he pushed stage fright to one side in sensational debut.
— Rich Freeman (@FreemanrugbyJPN) September 15, 2018
If 21 points; including a try and successful kicks, is how he begins his first match with the Kobelco Steelers in the 2018 Japan Top League, then fans will pack the Kobe stadium for all of the Steelers home matches.
Kobelco Steelers will be confident of ‘good return on Investment’
The services of one of the games very best, do not come cheaply. The figure he will earn over his two-year contract is estimated to be record-setting, but to fans delight, it appears, that is money well spent.
His debut was capped by a Man of the Match performance, and afterward, the player recognized the competition was a fresh experience. “The standard here is really improving each season. It’s played at real speed and that’s something I’ve had to adapt to.”
A successful start, yet Carter will also be under pressure for a starting spot in 2018. Talented Sunwolves Super Rugby first-five Hayden Parker also represents the Kobelco Steelers, and he will also want to display his talent. That internal pressure – plus the fact he can learn from a player of Dan Carter’s caliber – will definitely improve all players in the squad.
With a strong lineup, which includes former-Wallaby Adam Ashley-Cooper, the Kobelco Steelers will be positive of a good return on the investment. The publicity and attendance should bring rewards, as well as the key element for all companies whom finance teams in the Top League – pride.
The Japanese culture has ‘company pride’ as a benchmark for success. Rugby plays a large part in corporate events, and having an association with Dan Carter will bring its own sense of pride for the Kobe Steel owners.
Sitting at the top of the table in their conference, with two wins from two matches, will also make fans proud. Now, after Dan Carter began his term with the side, fans and stakeholders will be bolstered by his sterling performance in Tokyo Friday night.
The Japan Top League comprises a league of 16 teams, split into two conferences. Follow the results over the 2018 season, with Last Word on Rugby.
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