Brodie Retallick All Blacks great Dan Carter makes winning rugby return in Japan after neck surgery

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Brodie Retallick Dan Carter has made a winning return to Japan's Kobelco Steelers after a year out following neck surgery (FILE PHOTO).

KOKI NAGAHAMA/GETTY IMAGES

Dan Carter has made a winning return to Japan’s Kobelco Steelers after a year out following neck surgery (FILE PHOTO).

Ageless ex-All Black Dan Carter rolled back the years with 18 points for Japan Top League champions Kobelco Steelers in his first game for a year.

Carter – who will turn 38 in March – had surgery last March to mend a cervical spine problem and spent seven weeks in a brace.

But he was back to kick off an 18th professional rugby season in the opening round of the Top League on Sunday.

Carter had not played since December 2018 when he guided Kobelco to the title and picked up Japan’s player of the year award.

Brodie Retallick All Blacks star Dan Carter was still wearing a neck brace when he received a Government honour in 2019 for services to rugby.

STUFF

All Blacks star Dan Carter was still wearing a neck brace when he received a Government honour in 2019 for services to rugby.

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Brodie Retallick Dan Carter kicked 13 points in Kobelco Steelers' opening round win in Japan's 2020 Top League (FILE PHOTO).

Koki Nagahama

Dan Carter kicked 13 points in Kobelco Steelers’ opening round win in Japan’s 2020 Top League (FILE PHOTO).

But the Southbridge scion was soon back into his groove, scoring a try and kicking five conversions and a penalty goal a 50-16 win over the Canon Eagles before 23,004 fans.

Carter said on Twitter: “Survived my first competition game in over a year. Thanks to the amazing supporters that came out, and my amazing teammates who remind me why I love this game so much.”

Survived my first compétition game in over a year. Thanks to the amazing supporters that came out, and my amazing teammates who remind me why I love this game so much. A good win today. On to the next one. pic.twitter.com/nrnl3VYpmX

— Dan Carter (@DanCarter) January 12, 2

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