Kobelco Steelers get Carter as superstar fly-half confirms Racing exit

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Dan Carter has confirmed he will leave Racing 92 at the end of the season to join Kobelco Steelers in Japan.

The iconic former New Zealand fly-half, a three-time winner of World Rugby's Player of the Year award, made a lucrative switch to France after winning his second successive Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks in 2015.

Carter, currently sidelined with a knee injury, ended his first season with Racing by helping the team to Top 14 glory, but will now continue his career with the Steelers after ending prolonged speculation over his future.

In a video posted on Racing's official website, the 35-year-old said: "It's sad to leave my Racing family but also an exciting opportunity for me, a completely new challenge, playing in a new competition.

"There's also the effect of being able to spend a lot more time back home in New Zealand as well, with Japan being so much closer. And the Japanese season structure means I can get a lot more time at home close to family, which is a big part of the decision.

"It's an exciting opportunity for me, but it's going to be hard leaving Racing where I've had so many great memories."

Carter said of his new club: "[They are] one of the top Japanese teams in the league. A good friend of mine, Andy Ellis, plays there so I'm looking forward to partnering up with him again. I've played with him for well over a decade through my career.

"He speaks highly about the team culture, so it's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to moving to Kobe. But I'm not finished here yet, I've still got the rest of the season to make sure that I continue to work hard and contribute to Racing winning something.

"I just want to thank everyone here in France for making it such an amazing time. I've really enjoyed my time here. Jacky [Lorenzetti], the president, has been super patient with me through this process and very generous as well over the last few years.

Numerous big-name players have enjoyed stints in Japan, the host nation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, in recent years, including David Pocock, Fourie du Preez, Sonny Bill Williams and Ma'a Nonu.

Racing are expected to sign Finn Russell as Carter's replacement after the Scotland fly-half's impending exit from Glasgow Warriors was confirmed.