Carter relishing final clash with Farrell

2016-04-25 07:29
Dan Carter (Getty)

Nottingham - Dan Carter hailed rival flyhalf Owen Farrell as a "great competitor" ahead of their expected clash in next month's European Champions Cup final.

All Blacks great Carter guided Paris-based Racing 92 into their first European showpiece match with an 11-point haul in their 19-16 semi-final win over Leicester in Nottingham on Sunday.

That came a day after Premiership leaders Saracens, with Farrell wearing the No 10 shirt, defeated fellow English club Wasps 24-17 to book their place in the May 14 European final in Lyon.

"I've played against Owen Farrell a few times internationally, he's a great competitor, very physical, and he really leads that Saracens side extremely well," said Carter, international rugby union's all-time leading points scorer.

"So I'm looking forward to coming up against him and that Saracens side," added Carter, who said the English club, unbeaten in Europe this season, would start favourites in Lyon.

Sunday's match saw Racing captain Maxime Machenaud strike early with a third-minute try that Carter converted.

Racing stayed ahead and held out even when Leicester wing Telusa Veainu's 79th-minute converted try set up a dramatic finish.

Now France scrumhalf Machenaud hopes to gain revenge against London club Saracens, who knocked Racing out at the quarter-final stage last season courtesy of a late long-range penalty from Argentina's Marcelo Bosch.

"We're out for revenge against Saracens: that's what we wanted and now we have three weeks to get ready for it," he said.

"I still remember the game very well, it was a very physical match because they have very powerful forwards.

"Their team hasn't changed much so the game will be very similar."

Saracens boss Mark McCall, speaking before he knew his side would face Racing in the final, said: "They are absolutely massive and they've obviously added Dan Carter to their ranks this year.

"Playing a French team in France in the final will present some challenges but we don't mind that."


But former All Blacks wing Joe Rokocoko backed Carter - who has the World Cup, nine Rugby Championships and four Super Rugby titles behind him to complete a clean sweep of rugby union's major prizes.

"His experience of big pressure games like this, he's still driven to be the best player he can be for the team - and then for himself afterwards," said Rokocoko of Carter.

"Making finals rugby is something every player strives for and if we can go all the way it will just be another fairytale ending for him," added the Racing flyer, who set up Machenaud's try.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill was frustrated by the way World Cup final referee Nigel Owens controlled the scrum but added the Tigers would recover quickly as they go in search of a place in the Premiership play-offs.

"We don't do sulking, we've just got to crack on: we've lost and that's the game," he said.

"We've got six days until we play Worcester in the Premiership, and we've got to secure our place in the top four and victory over Worcester will do that.

"We can't change it, so we'll look forward to trying to secure the top four and a league semi-final.

"I was disappointed in some of the consistency around the refereeing at the scrum. Their loosehead (Eddy Ben Arous) was penalised five times and warned that if he did it again he would go to the bin. He didn't.

"Our system was broken down in defence right at the start and we leaked seven points in a three-point ball game.

"You take the dodgy penalty from the scrum and that's 10 points. Small margins. But Racing are a very good side."

Read more on:    dan carter  |  rugby

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