Dan Carter has revealed that he was living in his friends' garage when he got his first call-up for the All Blacks.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford, Carter said he roughed it in the garage early in his career – albeit a "pretty pimped out" one.
"It was a friend of mine's. We were all university students at Canterbury and we turned the garage into a bedroom so I could stay with them and that was exactly where I was living for a year," Carter said.
"I was playing for the Crusaders and wasn't expecting to be named for the All Blacks but at the same time I was living out of my mate's garage.
"I actually started getting paid a couple of NPC payments. You used to get win bonuses, so you'll get a couple hundred bucks if you win, which was my sort of first payment from rugby."
As Carter started to win and get paid more, he says he started to spend his income on the types of things every young guy loves.
"We went through a pretty good era where we won a couple of Ranfurly Shield games, which was even more of a bonus, and it was the most kitted out garage in Christchurch.
"I had the first flat screen, I had surround sound, a beautiful new bed in this garage. So it was pretty pimped out this little garage I used to live in."
Carter has come a long way since then, and this year made his return to New Zealand Rugby with the Blues – although he didn't get any playing time.
Part of that was probably due to bad luck, with the return of Covid-19 in the Auckland community forcing the Super Rugby Aotearoa finale between the Blues and Crusaders at Eden Park to be cancelled, which Carter was likely to feature in.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald recently indicated that the former All Blacks first-five was ready and willing to play in the highly-anticipated clash before it was canned.
"The fans would have loved to have seen him play in New Zealand again," MacDonald said. "He looked really good but he also offered a lot to us off the park. He was fit and ready to go and a good shot at being there."
Despite not making an impact on the field, Carter's experience and leadership was invaluable, especially in working with Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.
"He was Patrick's right-hand man for most of the season and we've all seen him grow as a leader and a player, and Dan is a massive part of that," MacDonald said.
"We know he is a Crusaders man at heart, but to put that aside and join the team is a testament to what a great guy he is."
Carter's future with NZ Rugby is still unknown, with MacDonald saying no serious discussions had been had with the No 10, but he didn't rule out anything developing further after lockdown.