Wednesday 25 April 2018

Manu Tuilagi knows Dan Carter challenge the key for Leicester

Leicester star Manu Tuilagi Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne
Leicester star Manu Tuilagi Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leicester star Manu Tuilagi accepts that New Zealand World Cup winner and Racing 92 playmaker Dan Carter will be "a massive threat" in today's European Champions Cup semi-final.

Carter, orchestrator of the All Blacks' World Cup triumph earlier this season, stands as arguably the biggest single barrier between Tigers and them reaching a first European final since 2009.

Nottingham's City Ground will host an eagerly awaited encounter between two of Europe's form teams, when victory for Leicester over Racing would confirm an all-English final in Lyon on May 14.

"It's a massive challenge playing against Dan Carter," England centre Tuilagi said. "I have played against him quite a few times now against the All Blacks, and he is the one that controls the game and the one who sorts everything out. We have to take that into account, and look at the whole team as well. But Carter will be a massive threat."

For Leicester head coach Aaron Mauger, today's clash sees him trying to plot his former All Blacks colleague Carter's downfall and Racing's European exit. They played many times together in the Test match arena, helping New Zealand win four Tri-Nations titles and claim a series whitewash against the 2005 British and Irish Lions. They also won two Super Rugby crowns together with the Canterbury-based Crusaders.

"Dan is very valuable for Racing. He is proving to be the difference," Mauger said. "They have always been a very good side, but he has given them direction. They are a physical, fast, direct side who can break a game open with their skills, but Dan is the glue in the middle that holds it all together and puts them in the right areas. When he is on top of his game, he's a complete footballer, but we will be looking to test those skills."

Leicester v Racing 92

BT Sport, 3.15

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