Racing rest Carter with eye on Europe

 Dan Carter (Getty)
Dan Carter (Getty)

Paris - French Top 14 leaders Racing 92 will rest superstar Dan Carter on Saturday when they tackle Montpellier with one eye already on next month's heavyweight European Cup clash against Toulon.

Carter was replaced due to injury in last week's 34-16 win at Top 14 champions Stade Francais and he will sit out the trip to Montpellier as will Welsh flyhalf Mike Phillips and Argentine speedster Juan Imhoff.

Racing are also missing six international stars away on Six Nations duty.

Despite that, Racing will not be tempted to risk their headline acts with the European Cup quarter-final at home to defending champions Toulon coming on April 10.

One thing for certain is that Xavier Chauveau will start at scrumhalf.

Montpellier, well set for the play-offs in fifth place, will be without fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc who will be starting for France in the Six Nations finale against England in Paris on Saturday.

Prop Misha Nariashvili is also an absentee having been called up by Georgia for their European Championship match with Germany.

Wing Marvin O'Connor, side-lined with a knee injury for a month, is in the match day squad.

Montpellier moved up to fifth spot last Sunday with a bonus-point 31-10 victory over rock-bottom Oyonnax with a team which featured just eight French-born players in their 23-man squad.

Second-placed Clermont host Toulouse, in sixth, on Sunday.

Toulouse have drawn their last two matches - 13-13 with Bordeaux following their 21-21 tussle with Brive seven days earlier.

"We need to have more of a killer instinct in the key moments," said Toulouse coach Ugo Mola.

"We didn't retain the ball long enough. We had plenty of ammunition but weren't realistic in our strongest moments."

Clermont are without prop Vincent Debaty and back row forward Julien Bardy - both are injured and will be missing for three weeks and up to six weeks respectively.

Meanwhile, Stade Francais host La Rochelle on Saturday, third from bottom of the table and still smarting from a third straight defeat last week when they lost 34-16 to Racing.

Stade were leading 16-13 at half-time in that game but indiscipline cost them in the final quarter as South African No 8 Jono Ross and flank Sylvain Nicolas were sin-binned before Samoan prop Sakaria Taulafo saw red, briefly leaving the champions down to 12 men.

This weekend, they will be boosted by the return of long-term absentees Raphael Lakafia in the back row and hooker Aled de Malmanche.

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