French outfit Perpignan have won the race for Dan Carter after the All Blacks fly-half agreed to spend his sabbatical with the French side.
A number of clubs across Europe had been chasing the player regarded the world's best No.10, especially after the New Zealand Rugby Union agreed to allow him to spend a season playing abroad as part of his new contract.
Big-spending Toulon, who already have managed to bring in such players like Andrew Mehrtens, George Gregan and Jerry Colliins. And who are also managed by former All Black Tana Umaga, had looked to have been the most likely to sign Carter - only for the chance of playing Heineken Cup rugby seemed to be the final reason.
"We hear a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the European competitions and how they compare to the Super 14 and NPC (National Provincial Championship)," said Carter.
"Basically, if I am going to play rugby in Europe I want to test myself against the best Europe can offer and I am excited about the challenges both the (French) Top 14 and European Cup will bring.
"I have done plenty of research on both Toulon and Perpignan and whilst I have no doubt I would have enjoyed Toulon... Perpignan's qualification for next year's European Cup swayed my decision."
Carter will team up with Perpignan in November, following the All Blacks tour to Britain, before returning home in June to resume his international career and his club career at Canterbury Crusaders.