DANIEL CARTER is set to sign for French side, Toulon, newly-promoted to the Top 14, in a six-month deal worth an estimated €900,000.
Reports in France confirm Toulon president, Mourad Boudjellal, has already confided to close associates that the deal to sign the All Black No 10 is complete, now that the club has gained promotion.
And as the All Black exodus overshadows the build-up to the team’s first Test against Ireland on Saturday, it is believed Munster target Jerry Collins could also be a target for the big spending French club, which is coached by his cousin and All Black legend, Tana Umaga.
The Toulon President is believed to be interested in Collins now the 48-cap All Black has negotiated an early release from his New Zealand contract.
The fact Collins is a cousin of Umaga’s may see the former move to the south of France rather than to Munster or to the English Premiership. Armed with a multi-million Euro budget — he made his fortune selling comics — Boudjellal is determined to build a super squad that can challenge in the top division.
Carter reportedly signed a pre-agreement a few weeks ago that suggested he has agreed personal terms and would join the club on the condition they achieved promotion. With that box ticked, Carter would appear to have now signed a formal contract to join Toulon in January 2009, to play through to the end of the French season in June before returning to New Zealand in time to be eligible for the Tri-Nations.
The deal will see Carter become the first to take an official sabbatical, which is fitting, as the New Zealand Rugby Union made the decision to offer short, sanctioned overseas breaks soon after the 26-year-old informed the All Black coaches he was keen to leave at the end of this year.
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