Emotional stumbling blocks get in way of pitch which included strong factors such as Graham Henry, writes Wynne Gray

Star five-eighths Daniel Carter has rebuffed offers to direct the Blues backline next year.

But the franchise's bosses have not given up on luring Carter to shift for the 2014 season.

They believe Carter should follow the example of test prop Tony Woodcock, who has swapped 11 seasons with the Blues for a fresh start with the Highlanders.


Carter and wife Honor live in Auckland but he commutes during the Super 15 season to train and play for the Crusaders, a trend the Blues hope to reverse.

Their pitch to Carter had all sorts of strands and former All Black coach-turned-Blues assistant Graham Henry was part of the employment strategy.

They argued a change would freshen Carter while providing the Blues with an all-All Black combination of Piri Weepu, Carter and Ma'a Nonu to guide the backs.

Carter was tempted, especially as the switch would eliminate commuting to Christchurch. However several issues disrupted any thoughts of a franchise swap.

There were a variety of emotional stumbling blocks which prevented him mimicking Woodcock's move.

Carter did not think a Canterbury public would forgive him, nor was he sure about the reactions from his family who live in the area.

Those issues became more complicated when All Black captain Richie McCaw decided to take a sabbatical next year.

If the Crusaders' supporters had to do without McCaw, Carter felt they would not respond well if he announced he was skipping off to the Blues.


The Blues pointed out that a shift would allow the Crusaders to encourage the rising talents of Tom Taylor and Tyler Bleyendaal.

In one of the last touches connected to outgoing coach Pat Lam, the Blues signed the steady Chris Noakes to their five-eighths roster.

The Weekend Herald understands that decision was encouraged by others who did not see a future for Gareth Anscombe next year at the Blues.

The Blues kept pursuing Carter until it was clear that quest was impractical for the 2013 campaign, then they signed Baden Kerr from Counties Manukau and delisted Anscombe.

The young pair opposed each other at Eden Park in ITM Cup duties last night, while Carter is due to step out tomorrow at La Plata when Argentina host the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.

Since John Kirwan was announced as Blues coach and revealed his assistants as Mick Byrne, Grant Doorey and Henry, they have been sifting their 2013 roster.

They have announced Marty McKenzie, Brendon O'Connor, Waisake Naholo, Kerr, Bryn Hall and Kane Barrett as new signings and extended the deals for Charles Piutau, Francis Saili and Steven Luatua.

But the Blues have yet to snare a big name and have not nailed down Nonu's signature for next year.

They went cold on Adam Thomson when he failed to answer, lost out on Ben Franks and then Carter.

The Blues remain hopeful Mils Muliaina will link up with them once more after his stint with the Chiefs and shift to Japan.