World-Cup winning five eighths Daniel Carter has revealed how a tight support network of family, friends and teammates gave him the impetus to push on for one last All Black hurrah.
Retirement had become a real possibility as injuries bit into his attempts to make it to a fourth World Cup.
"Though not many people noticed, I was pretty close to retiring from the game," he told Laureus ahead of their sports awards evening in Berlin on April 18.
Carter is one of the nominees for comeback of the year after battling through leg complaints and accompanying rustiness to direct the All Blacks backline through their World Cup and eventual victory against the Wallabies.
"Through friends and family, coaches and teammates, they gave me a lot of confidence to stick at it and give it one more crack," he said.
The All Blacks, with Carter in command and growing in certainty, repeated their 2011 triumph and along with the five eighths have been nominated for one of the Laureus awards.
After the World Cup, Carter has moved to play for Racing 92 in Paris in a multi-season deal.
"It is a very strong, tough, demanding competition," he said. "I want to contribute to the success of Racing which hasn't won any titles in the last few years."
In between his many commercial obligations in France, Carter has also been to America where there was some interest in signing him on as a kicker.
"I went to visit the Patriots and they had done their homework and worked out I'd kicked a few goals with a rugby ball, so they showed a bit of interest.
"If I stick to my retirement plan, then it might well be, but I'm very happy just playing rugby at the moment."