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Owen Farrell eyes emulating Dan Carter's unshakeable edge in Champions Cup final

Published 09/05/2016

Racing 92's Dan Carter is set to face Saracens
Racing 92's Dan Carter is set to face Saracens

Owen Farrell admitted he is aiming to emulate Dan Carter's unshakeable edge as he gears up to take on the All Black in Saturday's Champions Cup final.

Saracens know full well the futility of trying to rattle fly-half Carter in Lyon's showpiece clash against Parisian aristocrats Racing 92.

Rugby director Mark McCall insists Saracens will not fall into the trap of targeting the elusive Carter, who steered New Zealand to World Cup glory in the autumn before setting up camp at Racing.

England fly-half Farrell already boasts global respect for his tenacity and nerve, but cited Carter's unruffled approach as the benchmark for every 10.

"He's been there and done it so many times," said Farrell of Carter.

"People talked about whether he could do it or not going into the World Cup. That's not for me to take notice of, but a player of his class was always going to play like he did.

"It's just how calm he is, how much he is in control of what he does that stands out.

"Trying to be calmer on the pitch, it's definitely something I'm always trying to do.

"The more you're calm, the more you're in control and the more you're thinking about the right things. That's definitely something I've taken into account."

Saracens fell short 23-6 to Toulon in a frustrating 2014 Heineken Cup final, where Jonny Wilkinson eased the Cote d'Azur club home.

Farrell and company slipped from that defeat to a 24-20 extra-time loss to Northampton in the Premiership final just a week later.

The lingering memories of that fortnight's frustration will doubtless drive the Men in Black in Lyon this weekend.

As Farrell looks back upon his own progress since then, the 24-year-old with 40 England caps now realises he was not as cool and collected as he had expected.

"You think you are calm, you think you are composed, you think you are taking it all in your stride and when you look back at it you are probably not as much as you hope you had been," said Farrell of that 2014 European defeat to Toulon.

"That is probably natural it being the first occasion you have been there but the experience you have got to learn is that it is a game of rugby, it is two good teams playing in a cup final but it is just 80 minutes of rugby.

"We have got to play the game, we have not got to play anything that is around the game and the occasion: we have got to play a game of rugby.

"You have to learn from big games and big experiences, especially ones where it doesn't go your way.

"You have to take everything you possibly can. I know we are a different team since then and we know we have got better. We are just excited about hopefully putting in a big performance at the weekend.

"It was two finals in two weeks that year and it took it out of you there and then and it was good for us that we had to get on the plane the next day for the England tour to New Zealand.

"I don't know what I would have done if I had been sat at home thinking about it for however many weeks."

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