Bilbao - Dan Carter will be hoping to bow out with a
winner's medal when he brings the curtain down on his European rugby adventure
as his Racing 92 team take on Leinster in the Champions Cup final on Saturday.
Carter, now 36, racked up a world record 1,598 points in 112
Tests for the All Blacks, with a winning percentage of 88.4 percent.
The former Crusader has two Rugby World Cups to his name and
is an icon in world rugby, but humility remains his calling card, with Racing
still in the hunt for the Top 14 title.
"You're never too experienced to practice the
fundamentals of the game," Carter tweeted on Thursday alongside a photo of
him passing a ball in training.
The Kiwi will hope to have a more successful run-out at Bilbao's
San Mames stadium than he did for Racing in the 2016 final in Lyon won by
Carter risked a calf injury for that match, a move that
badly backfired as he limped off early in the second half having been outplayed
by Owen Farrell.
Carter is likely to start on the bench on Saturday,
Springbok Pat Lambie having been given the nod for the No 10 shirt.
"It's really nice to have him on the same side and to
have trained and played with him, seen how he does things and speak to him
about the game and life outside rugby as well," Lambie said of a
player who will head for a club career in Japan at the end of this season.
"These are his last games - there's a lot to play for.
I know this is a huge desire of his to win the Champions Cup and I'm sure he
wants to win the Top 14 again as well."
Lambie and Carter will be up against a strong Leinster team
marshalled by Jonny Sexton, an influential game breaker who will no doubt be
the target of some early 10-12 channel charges by Racing forwards.
Leinster are unbeaten in European competition this season,
with eight wins from eight including an impressive 30-19 quarter-final victory
over 2017 winners Saracens and a 38-16 defeat of Scarlets in the last four.
"We were pretty clinical [against Scarlets] but I like
to think we have another gear in us," said Leinster flank Dan Leavy.
"We looked at each other in the changing room after the
Scarlets match and thought we could go to the next level.
"Racing are a great team and are packed full of big
names. The strength in depth is incredible and they have the best defence in
the Top 14.
"If we are going to beat them, we will need to find
that extra gear against them."