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Carter braced for biggest game in France

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/04/2016

Dan Carter © David Davies/PA ARCHIVE IMAGES Dan Carter All Blacks great Dan Carter is relishing a chance to play in the game with the highest stakes since he joined French club Racing 92.

Carter's team host defending champions Toulon in Paris in Sunday's European Champions Cup quarter-finals, pitting the two glamour teams of the French game.

The veteran first five-eighth has made a successful transition since beginning his lucrative three-year contract in the wake of New Zealand's successful World Cup title defence last October.

Racing 92 are third in the French Top 14, one place ahead of Toulon, but Carter knows a step to a bigger prize lies ahead this weekend.

"When I was in New Zealand I saw the European Cup matches on TV. I saw the large crowds of supporters travelling to games and it was really something special," he told journalists.

"There is a little more pressure about a game like this, where you know you go home if you lose. But it's not new to me. When you represent the All Blacks, you have pressure in every game."

The game brings together several high-profile former All Blacks.

Carter could run out alongside Joe Rokocoko, Casey Laulala and Chris Masoe, along with former Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna, while former Test backs Ma'a Nonu and Tom Taylor are in Toulon's squad.

There is a smattering of New Zealanders among the other quarter-finalists, which comprise five English clubs and three from France.

Wasps boast three Kiwi backs - Charles Piutau, Frank Halai and Jimmy Gopperth - for their clash with Exeter while fellow-English club Leicester can call on forwards Mike Fitzgerald and Brendon O'Connor when they face Stade Francais.

The other quarter is between Saracens and Northampton.

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