Dan Carter shifts pressure onto Saracens as Racing 92 reach Champions Cup final
Dan Carter has wasted no time in shifting the pressure for next month's European Champions Cup final off maiden finalists Racing 92 and onto Saracens.
Former All Blacks fly-half Carter slotted 11 points with the boot and shut down Leicester's power runners in Racing's 19-16 semi-final victory at Nottingham's City Ground.
The 34-year-old only dragged New Zealand to World Cup glory on October 31, but fast-forward six months and Carter is back in title-hunting territory.
"I'd have thought Saracens would be favourites," said Carter, already weighing up the May 14 final in Lyon.
"They've probably performed best in this tournament and deserve their spot in the final.
"They've been leading the way, top of the points table at the end of the pool stages and have continued their form in the quarter-final and semi-final, so it's going to be a tough game for us.
"It's pretty special, part of the reason why I came here was to play in this competition and for the team to play extremely well and reach the final, it's exciting."
Maxime Machenaud bagged Racing's only try then immediately targeted "revenge" for Saracens' 12-11 victory over the Parisians in last year's Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Carter was far more circumspect, opting to offload the pressure rather than crank it up. Even when called on for his thoughts on England and Saracens lynchpin Owen Farrell, Carter stuck the script of compliment first, and keep the powder dry for the May 14 showdown in Lyon.
"I've played against Owen Farrell a few times internationally, he's a great competitor, very physical, and he really leads that Saracens side extremely well," said Carter.
"So I'm looking forward to coming up against him and that Saracens side."
Wing Telusa Veainu plundered a last-gasp try for Leicester, but the Tigers were soundly beaten despite the scoreboard proximity.
The Tigers were far too errant in both ragged fringe defence and the sloppy passing of their expanded attacking game.
Rugby director Richard Cockerill insisted Leicester will not dwell on their failure to reach a first top-tier European final since 2007.
"We don't do sulking, we've just got to crack on: we've lost and that's the game," said Cockerill.
"We've got six days until we play Worcester in the Premiership, and we've got to secure our place in the top four and victory over Worcester will do that.
"We can't change it, so we'll look forward to trying to secure the top four and a league semi-final."