Saracens aim to reduce Carter’s influence

Date published: May 9 2016

Saracens boss Mark McCall has said that his side won't be lulled into trying to physically intimidate Dan Carter this Saturday.

Instead the Premiership champions' plan is try and lessen his influence on the contest by keeping the ball out of his hands as much as possible.

Doing so requires high accuracy in their set-piece but Saracens have excelled in that regard all year, and will have to do that again if they want to become European champions for the first time.

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

"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."

Saracens will have to deal not only with the creativity of Carter but also his half-back Maxime Machenaud, who has enjoyed a fine season for Racing and whose input played a defining role in both their quarter-final and semi-final victories.

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

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

"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.

"We've just got to make sure we're really alive to every time that he's going to get the ball, kick and try to put us under some pressure."