Dan Carter says calls for All Black talisman Richie McCaw to retire from Test rugby before the 2015 World Cup are "ridiculous".
McCaw has not featured for the Crusaders for nearly two months after damaging a thumb during their 35-24 loss to the Blues, with his early season Super Rugby performances drawing widespread criticism.
Some even called for the great man, now 33, to hang up his boots ahead of next year's World Cup, where New Zealand look to defend their title for the first time in history.
"It's ridiculous. He only played a couple of games before he broke his thumb, so he's had no chance," Carter told the Sunday Star-Times.
"Most guys, in my experience, do not start the season well after a big season like last year. Most of the All Blacks are slow to start."
Carter is two-thirds of the way through his six month sabbatical, following similar periods of downtime taken by McCaw and Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith.
But the fly-half, a year younger than the veteran openside, says retirement is far from his thoughts.
"I haven't really thought about retirement to be honest, I don't like to look too far ahead," added Carter.
"I'm just looking right in front of me and enjoy this time off . . .
"Hopefully my body will be able to hold up and I'll be able to get some longevity and play for a few more years yet."