Carter backs longer break
Wellington - New Zealand flyhalf Dan Carter has added his voice to calls for more rest time for top players, saying the International Rugby Board should take advice from players when competition schedules are planned.
The New Zealand Rugby Players' Association, supported by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, has called for an increase in the break that leading players can take between seasons, from eight to 16 weeks.
Carter, who was the IRB's player of the year in 2005 and 2012, said the world governing body had never sought his view on the length of the season and its effect on player welfare.
He said players' views were vital if rugby bosses were serious about moving towards a co-ordinated global season which would halt the growing length of seasons, thereby reducing injuries and fatigue.
"The IRB should get a lot more players' input and feedback in things like that," Carter told Fairfax Media. "If there is an opportunity to make a change, which could potentially happen after 2015, then it would definitely be worth talking to players to get them involved and help to make a decision."
Any change to the structure of the season could not be made until after 2015, when current broadcasting agreements expire.
Carter said there was not sufficient time to recover from test matches in late November and December before the start of the Super Rugby season in February.
"I have been playing professionally for 11 years and I haven't had a pre-season training since 2002-2003," he said. "I tend to start up with the team and three weeks later you are playing your first game, which I don't think is long enough."
Carter has battled injuries in recent seasons, including a ruptured achilles tendon suffered during a sabbatical in France and a serious groin strain that ruled him out of the late stages of the 2011 World Cup. The 31-year-old said he seldom trained without pain on the Monday after a match because the packed season allowed little recovery time.
"It takes a lot longer than it did 10 years ago," he said. "It takes a couple of days. You are still feeling the effects on Tuesday, Wednesday and then you are feeling pretty good on Thursday and Friday and you do it all over again."