Saracens' Farrell won't be bullied
England fly-half Owen Farrell takes a penalty kick at Twickenham, West London on March 9, 2014 - by Ben Stansall
At the age of 22, Farrell already has more England caps (24), than he does years on the planet and there were signs during the Six Nations of him adding a greater passing game to his already sound goalkicking and defensive qualities.
Injuries permitting, he remains in line to be the Test side's first-choice outside-half when England stage next year's World Cup.
England past met England present this time last season when a Toulon side spearheaded by World Cup winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson beat Saracens in the semi-finals before going on to defeat domestic rivals Clermont in the final.
If that was a chastening day for Farrell and Saracens, there is a widespread view they are now a more seasoned side for that experience.
And Farrell believes the same is true of his once fallible temperament, which could see him goaded into hot-headedness and minor, pointless, altercations on the field.
"The game is a physical game, you can't be bullied," Farrell said while speaking at Saracens St Albans training ground, north of London, this week.
However, the son of England backs coach and former dual-code international Andy Farrell added: "If you are constantly involved in the aggressive side, you end up getting caught in stuff you don't want to.
"If you are in and out, then you can go on to your next job. I've just realised what I've got to concentrate on.
"I can't afford to lose a second by reacting to anything. I've just got to make sure I am constantly one step ahead by being on the ball all the time."
Farrell was on the receiving end of some heavy-duty tackling from England team-mate Courtney Lawes when Premiership leaders Saracens played Northampton a fortnight ago, a match that left the fly-half with an injury to his right, kicking, foot.
"Courtney hitting you, he does it to every 10 (fly-half) going. The 10 is the person who tries to win a game for a team so for them to come out and put pressure on them, that's their job.
"It wasn't late, it wasn't anything like that, so you have no problem with it.
"You know where it's coming from but you can't stop it! I don't mind getting hit.
Someone who does it unbelievably well is (Saracens back-row) Jacques Burger.
"He puts everything into every hit he does but as soon as that hit is finished he is on to his next job.
"That's the way you've got to be as a team."