There was plenty of shadow boxing but little evidence of flair or trickery, certainly not enough for either Leinster or Racing to break down their opponent's defence in the first half of Saturday's Champions Cup decider.
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).
Cullen sought the help of former England coach Stuart Lancaster and the team haven't looked back since, with Lancaster bringing his experience and tactical know-how to the squad. "We have to do things slightly differently in Leinster where we produced guys from within mainly".
Leinster were told Friday to step up a gear against French club Racing 92 if they want to win their fourth Champions Cup final.
"Certainly Leinster are favourites but there are enough big-game players in the Racing team to cause them concern". Nine years ago Leinster earned the right to first wear a star, stepping out of Munster's shadow with a landmark victory over Leicester Tigers at Murrayfield.
Racing shrugged off injuries to out-halves Dan Carter and Pat Lambie to lead twice during a cagey first half, Teddy Iribaren's two penalties being cancelled out by a Jonathan Sexton brace.
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He said he hoped the widespread interest he generated would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their laws. "I am glad to arrive", he said from a wheelchair at a French airport Monday as he neared his final destination.
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".
"We lost the Pro14 semi-final as well and both games burn deep".
"He still a world-class player who will be keen to make an impact when he does come on".
"In my first one I knew the guys around me had been to a final before and lost it, I was thinking some of our aging players might not get another shot and it was that weight of expectation that you wanted them to go out as a European Cup victor".
Where to watch Leinster vs Racing 92? "He is a different level for me".
"But what we want to do is not only to worry them, but to beat them".