herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Get Carter? That's not Saracens' game plan

Mark McCall. Photo: Reuters
Mark McCall. Photo: Reuters

Mark McCall insists Saracens will not fall for the "big, big, big mistake" of head-hunting Dan Carter in Saturday's European Champions Cup final.

New Zealand World Cup-winner Carter has driven Racing 92 to their first European final as the linchpin of the Parisian aristocrats.

The 34-year-old will aim to dictate proceedings in Lyon on Saturday, but Saracens director of rugby McCall promised his side will not waste energy chasing such an elusive target.

"It's a big, big, big mistake to think you're going to go and get Dan Carter," said McCall.

"Dan Carter's been doing this for a very long time. So we've got to make sure that his influence in the game isn't huge, isn't unbelievably significant.

"And if we can do that it means our pack have got on top in the scrum, in the lineout. It means we'll have put a little bit more pressure on him than he's experienced before.

"But if you run down his channel and think you're going to shake him up, you're not going to."

Maxime Machenaud's roaming threat from scrum-half has allowed Carter to span the full width of Racing's inside back cordon, leaving the All Black great always at arm's length from opposing forwards.

Leicester were unable to enforce any meaningful hits on the poster-boy playmaker in Racing's 19-16 semi-final victory in Nottingham, a situation Saracens have since noted well.

"Machenaud's unbelievably competitive, he gets his attack going," said McCall.

"He brings their big men into the game and someone we're going to have to watch like a hawk."

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