All Blacks fly half Dan Carter said on Sunday (1 November) he has achieved far more in his international career than he had ever dreamed possible as he plans to focus on a club career with Paris side Racing Metro. New Zealand retained the Rugby World Cup in a historic 34-17 win against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday (31 October).
Carter said: "I was happy to be just playing one test match for the All Blacks, that was a dream come true for me and I never thought I'd be playing over a decade for the black jersey but ever since I got that first taste back in 2003 I never wanted it to end so to have had the career I've had I'm super grateful for it.
"I've played in some pretty amazing teams alongside some fantastic players and mates of mine and it's just been an amazing career and you know it's a funny feeling now to think that it's all coming to an end and you won't be putting on the black jersey anymore.
"But it's something that, when you make the All Blacks, it's your job to enhance the legacy so when you finish playing you have to return the jersey at a better place than effectively what you got it in. I'd like to think that over the last 12 years now that I've finished that I've handed the jersey back in better shape and added to that All Black legacy.
"It's going to be tough finishing playing for the All Blacks but it's the end of a chapter and another new exciting one starts in France so bringing the family to Paris to live and I'll be playing for Racing Metro over there for the next couple of years so that's going to be an exciting challenge and one I'm really looking forward to."
Carter missed out on the final at the last World Cup when the All Blacks beat France in the final but he was relieved to have his shot at an appearance in a final with his side this time around. "Four years ago when the World Cup was in New Zealand I would've done anything to play in that World Cup final but unfortunately with my injury I had to sit in the stands and watch.
"Ever since that time I've had that dream of playing in that next World Cup which was here in London and there were times in those four years when I wasn't sure I was going to make it because of injury or form, things like that. So to be sitting here today and to have achieved what we have is just a dream come true and it's such an amazing feeling right now."
Carter praised the star-studded squad he leaves behind considering himself fortunate to have been part of such a strong team. "It's a very special bunch of guys to achieve something that effectively no other team has been able to achieve, to win back-to-back World Cups has always been a goal of ours and it's a pretty tough thing to do as no-one else had been able to do it before so to do that was a lot of hard work but there was something pretty unique and special about this group of guys and I just consider myself very fortunate to be a part of such a special team," he said.
Although a core group of six players boasting more than 700 caps between them are retiring – or in captain Richie McCaw's case – expected to be retiring, New Zealand's strength in depth means they are unlikely to suffer any sort of major dip. The newly-crowned world champions have already been installed as evens favourites to win a third successive title in Japan in four years.