Cullen highlights contrast between Leinster and Champions Cup final opponents

Cullen highlights contrast between Leinster and Champions Cup final opponents

A pre-match hamstring injury spoiled Carter's European swansong, with Racing's injury list already including talismanic skipper Maxime Machenaud (knee) and Dimitri Szarzewski (bicep).

Racing 92 may be the underdogs going into Saturday's European Champions Cup final against Leinster, but don't write them off.

Iribaren's right boot restored Racing's lead five minutes after the restart, rewarding a bruising set of carries from his pack.

Expected to be made a decision to by performance in this year's Champions Cup final, Scott Fardy, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton are the three Leinster players up for the award.

Racing 92 meanwhile have as expected kept Dan Carter in reserve, where he is joined on the replacements bench by fellow former All Black Joe Rokocoko. "They've got threats all over the park".

"We were very close".

Top 14 clubs are no stranger to success in continental competition and Racing can become the fourth French team to win European rugby's blue-riband tournament after Toulouse, Toulon and Brive.

Carter is playing his final European match for Racing before heading to Japanese club rugby, but Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton insists that even at 36 years old the World Cup victor remains a threat.

His opposite number, Pat Lambie, is an experienced Springbok global and will probably now have to take on the goalkicking in the absence of the injured Maxime Machenaud.

A relieved and delighted Sexton, who has been with the club for all of its triumphs in Europe's premier competition, said: "We did it the hard way".

"The way Lambie played against Munster in the semi-finals and the way he has played all season meant we thought he'd be likely to start".

"Off the bench he's still a threat for them".

"He still a world-class player who will be keen to make an impact when he does come on".

Leinster had scored 31 tries in their eight Champions Cup games this season but they never broke the deadlock as Racing defended furiously throughout a tight match. "I hope to return home with a big smile on my face, holding the trophy".

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