"Hello, thanks for coming out tonight...there's so many people, it's amazing."
That's what World Cup-winning All Black and fan favourite Dan Carter had to say when greeting more than 500 people at a launch event for his new book in Auckland tonight.
"I'd hate to know how many people would be here if we didn't win the World Cup," Carter then joked, drawing plenty of laughter.
The "Books & Bubbles with Dan Carter" evening, put on by Paper Plus and hosted by NewstalkZB's Kerre McIvor, gave excited fans an up-close-and-personal look into the All Black veteran's career and new biography, Dan Carter: My Story.
When entering the Ellerslie Event Centre at the start of the night many in the crowd were already clutching Carter's book, along with a host of other items for him to sign.
Some, wanting to get the closest possible view of their rugby hero, hurried to take their place at one of the many tables set up around the room. Others simply went straight to the book-signing line to get their copy in the queue.
When Carter finally entered the room and made his way onto the stage he was greeted with loud applause, cheers and a standing ovation.
He talked candidly with McIvor about the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup win, the highs and lows of his career, and "the next chapter" of his life.
There was absolute silence each time he answered a question.
Carter said after celebrating in the changing room for an hour or two after the final whistle of the World Cup final, he went back to the hotel and phoned his co-author, Duncan Greive, who wanted to talk to Carter when his post-final feelings and emotions were still fresh in his mind.
"The first thing I did as soon as I got back to the hotel, I rang Duncan and we talked about what had just happened and some pretty special feelings started going through my mind at that point..."
These feelings make up the final section of the book.
Carter also talked with McIvor about the struggles in his career, his devastating 2011 Rugby World Cup-ending injury, and the other "mental battles" that he's had over the years.
"To be sitting here, after some of the success [of the World Cup], I still pinch myself. It's unbelievable. Because it's the last thing that I thought would happen 12 months ago when I was battling injuries, not being selected for the All Blacks on the end-of-year tour, little things like that," he said.
"So to achieve what I have in the last month or so, it is a dream come true."
Carter had some kinds words to say about his Crusaders and All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
He said McCaw was a "special player and a special person" and that he had an amazing friendship and working relationship with him.
"It's going to be weird playing next year in France without my good mate next to me smashing the opposition," he said.
Carter will now leave New Zealand to play for Racing Metro in Paris.
When asked tonight how he was feeling after the terror attacks in the French capital over the weekend, he said: "A little bit more nervous now."
But Carter said his thoughts were more with his teammates over there, some of his close friends that live there, and obviously the people of Paris.
"So I've kind of put my stuff aside for the moment and my thoughts and prayers are with those people in Paris."
All those in attendance at tonight's event had a "Question for Dan" sheet to fill in at their table, with a lucky few having their question drawn and asked to Carter after the half-time break.
Carter then took his place at the book signing table, where he was going to sign about 400 copies.
The book is in stores now.