Those clamouring to witness Dan Carter's debut for the Blues may be forced to wait.
After playing six games in the last 18 months, Carter will make his return to the field this weekend with his first match for Canterbury club Southbridge since 2014.
Carter cut a lean figure after returning from Japan, where he guided Kobe Steelers to last year's Top League title, and signing as an injury-replacement for Blues utility back Stephen Perofeta in early June.
Under the expectation he would not play again this year, it is understood Carter shed six kilograms during lockdown and a period of three months with no rugby training.
The 38-year-old dual World Cup winner has since used the past month to regain weight and condition his body for contact again. His return for Southbridge against West Melton this weekend sparked anticipation he could be included on the Blues bench for their next match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on July 11 following the bye this weekend.
In an interview with the Herald, Blues coach Leon MacDonald has, however, all but ruled out Carter featuring against the Crusaders, who he helped lead to three Super Rugby titles.
"We've got to remember the purpose around Dan," MacDonald said. "He's here to provide cover in the case of injury or form and right now we're pretty happy with both."
With the Blues completing three victories to open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, MacDonald is clearly content with his Otere Black-Beauden Barrett playmaking combination and Harry Plummer's cover from the bench.
It seems there may need to be an injury to one of those playmakers, or a dramatic drop in form, for Carter to be included.
"Dan's expectation isn't to come in here and be the No 1 player, although he's a competitive man and I know he wants to play. We've got to stay true to what we discussed and that's around him giving us options and cover and adding value off the field.
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"Nothing has changed there. The fact he's going to play a bit of club rugby is great and it does put him closer to being game ready but it doesn't mean as soon as he's ready to go he's going to be playing for us."
Despite Barrett confirming his one-season sabbatical with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath next year, MacDonald indicated there were no plans to retain Carter beyond this year.
"I haven't spoken to Dan around anything next year. We're happy to have him with us in the short term. It's not part of our thinking now."