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Roughing up Carter not an option: Saracens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/05/2016 Nick Purewal

Saracens they won't fall for the "big, big, big mistake" of head-hunting Dan Carter in the European Champions Cup final.

Retired All Blacks Test great Carter has driven Racing 92 to their first European final as the linchpin of the Parisian aristocrats.

The 34-year-old first five-eighth will aim to dictate proceedings in Lyon on Saturday, but Saracens director of rugby Mark 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," McCall said.

"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."

McCall says getting on top in the set piece and other areas of the game can exert the sort of pressure that can bother any player, including one as accomplished as the New Zealand No.10.

"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 halfback has allowed Carter to span the full width of Racing's inside back cordon, leaving the playmaker at arm's length from opposing forwards.

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

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

"He and Carter work very well together, and Dan Carter's an expert at picking his moment at when to involve himself, and usually it's a pretty good involvement."

Saracens are back in the European showpiece for the first time since their galling 23-6 loss to Toulon in the last Heineken Cup final in 2014.

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