More to Racing that Carter - Vunipola warns Sarries


Billy Vunipola has warned Saracens they must counter more threats than just Dan Carter to beat Racing 92 and etch their names on the European Champions Cup.

For the first time since 2012, a name other than Toulon will reign supreme in European rugby's biggest club competition, and there is guaranteed to be a new name on the trophy.

Reigning Premiership champions Sarries have been the nearly men in recent seasons having appeared in the last four semi-finals and losing the 2014 showpiece to Toulon.

Mark McCall's men have history on their side having beaten Racing in their past four encounters, including in last season's quarter-finals.

But the Top 14 high-flyers have since added one of the greatest number 10s to have played the game and Carter - who won the World Cup with New Zealand last year - will be determined to add to his medal haul at the Grand Stade de Lyon.

Carter's battle with England fly-half Owen Farrell has been pin-pointed as the area where the match will be won or lost, but barnstorming number eight Vunipola is not focusing solely on the All Blacks great.

"They've got Chris Masoe, they've got Juan Imhoff, they've got Joe Rokocoko and also I think a key player for them is Maxime Machenaud," Vunipola said. 

"He is a tough little player and he's already said that they are coming out for revenge so just a word of warning for the boys to look out."

On Sarries' 2014 loss, he added: "We are not really thinking about two years ago, that's done and dusted we have learned from that I feel and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead."

As well as having the likes of Carter, Imhoff and Rokocoko in their ranks, Racing are boosted by the return of captain Dimitri Szarzewski, the hooker having injured his knee in the last-eight win over Toulon.

Racing have never graced a European final and speedy winger Rokocoko believes his fellow New Zealander Carter has taken the Paris club to another level.

"The main thing with Dan coming over to France was how quickly he made the transition and how the game is played in the northern hemisphere and especially the Top14," he said. 

"I've been here a few years with Bayonne before but Dan has slotted into the team and the group so quickly and got to grips with the game-plan."

Ominously, Carter has nailed 23 of his 24 attempts at goal in the tournament, but Sarries can become the first team to win all their pool matches and lift the trophy.