HONOR-BOUND DAN CARTER A MODEL PROFESSIONAL WITH EYE ON THE BIGGER PICTURE

The Times UK

120 NZ dollars (about £59) for the temporary Wishi engagement ring he gave Dillon last month. Designers say they are for men unsure of how much to spend or the answer they may get. She said yes.

Fly half is focused on his craft despite outside distractions.

Tim Wheeler had to fight hard to get Dan Carter to take his clothes off. “He put some restrictions on it in the early days,” the American said. “He wouldn’t go outside in just his underpants.”That early business meeting hints at the Carter conundrum. He is the rugby extrovert and perfect 10, but a modest man who says his best is yet to come. And although he may have been a reluctant stripper, strip he did.

“People were wrecking their cars as they looked up at the billboards,” Wheeler, the president of Jockey International, said.Carter also sees the big picture. Despite fears about ribbing from macho team-mates, the fly half signed with Jockey when an All Blacks novice in 2003. Since then, his fiancée, Honor Dillon, the New Zealand hockey player, has also been recruited. They have even posed together — Posh and Becks defrocked.

Yet Carter, 28, has managed to avoid the backlash that ensued when David Beckham and his wife were famously pictured in sarongs. It was not just Sir Alex Ferguson who felt that two sarongs did not make a right as Beckham fast-tracked himself to cross-dressing, crossover celebrity.“We do have tall poppy syndrome down here,” said Dean Hegan, Carter’s friend and manager at Essentially Group, the sports marketing agency. “But anyone who knocks Dan does so at their peril.”Some have tried.

Carter and Richie McCaw and Ali Williams, his team-mates, were threatened last year with legal action over a bottled-water venture. “Someone claimed it was their idea, but it went away,” Hegan said. There was also a flurry of media activity when supposedly naked photographs were for sale on an auction house; the offer was quickly removed.

Then, in March, a gossip columnist, Rachel Glucina, reported that Carter had been “busted buying sex toys at an adult store in Christchurch”. Hegan said he was with Canterbury team-mates getting a gift for a team-mate.

Inevitably, some people will want to “get Carter”, but Wheeler says analogies with Beckham are misplaced. “They are totally different in character and how they relate to their sport,” he said. “Dan would never let anything interfere with his rugby, but with Beckham, it’s more about celebrity. There’s his wife and that dynamic, but Honor’s also a sportsperson in her own right.

”There is a Facebook site called “We HATE Dan Carter”, but it has only 59 members and was set up by a bloke from Leicester. Most people accept that Carter is a nice guy, who remembers his roots, growing up in Southbridge, pop. 720, and watching his dad dig up the vegetable patch to make way for a training pitch.They remember the magical games, such as the 2005 taming of the Lions in Wellington, and hope he recovers from his latest ankle injury.

Last year, while playing for Perpignan on a unique six-month sabbatical from his New Zealand contract, he tore an Achilles tendon. He was raking in a record £30,000 a game in France and is considering a return there after next year’s World Cup. Toulon, though, have ruled themselves out of an auction, with Mourad Boudjellal, the president, claiming Carter had “crossed the line” by demanding £1 million a season.

Boudjellal knows Carter’s worth, though, having offered him £500,000 for six months in 2008, but, eyeing Beckham-like shirt sales, he had his fingers burnt. Carter said he wanted Heineken Cup rugby, but others claimed adidas, a sponsor of the player and the All Blacks, derailed the deal.Carter lives a normal life in New Zealand, dividing his time between Christchurch, where he plays for the Crusaders, and Auckland, where Dillon works as a brand manager for DB Breweries.

They are not so much the Beckhams with bells on as the stripped-down version. Wheeler conceded as much, saying his man remains unknown in the United States. “When people don’t recognise him, it’s OK because he’s got a great body,” he said. “He’s our best model because he does not know how to pose. He’s a natural in underwear.” Make that anywhere.

Perfect 10 by numbers

1,127 International points, 51 behind Jonny Wilkinson’s record

33 Points scored in second match against the Lions in Wellington in 2005, an All Blacks record

35.7 Percentage of the vote won in taking New Zealand’s sexiest man title in 2005

3,000,000 Salary in pounds that Toulon claim Carter wants for a three-year deal

120 NZ dollars (about £59) for the temporary Wishi engagement ring he gave Dillon last month. Designers say they are for men unsure of how much to spend or the answer they may get. She said yes.

Read the source article on The Times website. Honor-bound Dan Carter a model professional with eye on the bigger picture