Forget rest, All Balcks and Crusaders fly-half Dan Carter is relishing a rare opportunity to be ready for action at the start of the 2015 season.
Having taken a sabbatical in 2013 to ensure his body would make it to his fourth World Cup in England next year, the Test veteran had been hoping to regain his top form this year.
But a series of injuries, including a leg fracture suffered in the Super Rugby Final, marred his season and left him short of game time as New Zealand headed on their November tour of Europe.
Now, with so much time spent on the sidelines over the last 18 months, the 32-year-old is raring to go.
“Normally at this stage of the year I’m really enjoying a break, just getting away from it all but with my body feeling as good as it is, it’s a good chance to actually get some gains in my off-season.
“I don’t think I’ve had a December I’ve been injury free for about four or five years so to actually be able to do a lot of training rather than rehab is good. Obviously I’ll join the Crusaders in January.”
Carter says he is keen to “work extremely hard through December.”
“Normally it’s the end of January, but I’m pretty keen to get back in amongst it, so talked to the coaches and trainers and they’re happy with that plan.”
The Crusaders open their Super Rugby campaign against Rebels in Melbourne in February and Carter hopes to run out with the starting side.
“I haven’t discussed return to play dates but I can’t see why not with joining the team early and getting some good work there’s no point in being rested,” he said.
“I just need rugby and if all goes well in January then hopefully I will be ready to play in round one.”
Of course, the ultimate goal is to defend the World Cup.
“I’m getting to end of my career, and the World Cup is a big thing to strive for and a big part of the motivation moving forward,” he explained.