Rugby: Tributes pour in for All Blacks great Dan Carter announces retirement

Tributes are pouring in, after All Blacks great Dan Carter announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 38. 

Carter, who is regarded as one of the best players of all time, pulled on the black jersey on 112 occasions and leaves the game as the highest pointscorer in test rugby with 1598, more than 350 points clear of English rival Jonny Wilkinson. 

Debuting in 2003, he played at four Rugby World Cups, guiding the All Blacks to victory in 2015 and earning Man of the Match honours in the final against Australia. 

Following the announcement, commentators, teammates, fans and rivals have been quick to offer the great playmaker their congratulations on an outstanding career.

Veteran rugby commentator Grant Nisbett isn't surprised at Carter's decision, but admires arguably the world's greatest first-five.

"Well, it's not surprising that he's finally decided to pull the pin," Nisbett tells Newshub. "He's certainly got to an age when it's probably time to retire, but we can probably reflect on him being arguably the greatest No.10 this country has ever produced."

The conversation has already started about whether he is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) globally, but for Nisbett, he's without a doubt the best first-five this country has produced. 

"He's certainly in the conversation, no doubt about that," he says. "I mean, this is very subjective when you start talking about the greatest rugby player of all time, but I think if you can try to find someone that is a better No.10 right across the rugby spectrum, then I would be very interested to hear, because I frankly can't think of a better one."

Carter shocked fans, especially diehard Canterbury supporters, when he signed as an injury replacement for the Blues in 2020, after he was convinced to join by coach and former teammate Leon MacDonald.

MacDonald was quick to post his admiration and respect for Carter after his announcement. 

"One of the game's greats, a real privilege to have played alongside you DC," MacDonald writes on Facebook. "A true pro, yet still as humble as the day you left Southbridge and hopefully you can sort out that slice now!!"

England rugby great and 2005 British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward has paid tribute to some of Carter's greatest performances. 

"His 33 points in the second test in Wellington, including two brilliant tries, was off the richter scale and possibly the best individual performance I have ever witnessed at test level," Woodward writes in the Daily Mail. "The Perfect 10."

The debate over who is the better first-five between Carter and Jonny Wilkinson has waged for years and will continue for a long time to come. Woodward, who coached England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup title, says he has often been asked who was better.

"It's almost an impossible choice," Woodward writes for the Daily Mail. "They were, by some distance, the two pre-eminent fly-halves of their era - both, incidentally, natural left-footers.

"They were both tough and enduring - fly-halves are targeted in all levels of rugby, doubly so when they are world-class goalkickers," he says. "I would score Jonny and Dan about equal as the best goalkickers we have seen.

"Dan was the best attacking 10 I ever saw, while Jonny was far and away the best defensive 10 I ever witnessed."