Lyon - Dan Carter has built up his
reputation as the world's best flyhalf on the back of being able to demonstrate
a cool hand in any situation thrown his way.
His opponent when Racing 92 line up against
Saracens in the European Champions Cup final in Lyon's Grand Stade on Saturday
will be England playmaker Owen Farrell, an altogether spikier character on the
"Opposites!" was Carter's take on
any potential comparison between himself and Farrell, who has already amassed
40 caps for England at the age of 24.
"He loves getting in amongst us. I
really like his competitive nature, the way that he gets stuck in. He's not the
biggest guy but he's extremely physical and he works extremely hard to help his
team get the win.
"That's what you want from your
teammates, it's that competitive nature and he definitely has that."
Racing assistant coach Ronan O'Gara said
homework will have been done on Farrell.
"He's the most improved player in
Britain and Ireland over the last six months. He's a big threat now," the
ex-Ireland flyhalf said.
Farrell is in fact coming back from a ban
for a dangerous tackle in Saracens' semi-final win over Wasps and is not unused
to seeing the referee's yellow card.
But the England player was one to watch out
for a different reason, insisted Carter, Test rugby's highest points scorer
after his 112 matches for the All Blacks.
"He's an outstanding goal kicker and
has punished Racing on a few occasions in the past with his accurate goal
kicking," the 34-year-old New Zealander said.
"I'm sure that'll be an important part
of his game tomorrow as well. There're plenty of attributes to like about
Farrell has admitted he admired Carter's
"calm and control". "He's been there and done it so many
times," he said.
"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," said Farrell.
"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."
Farrell played down his fiery side,
however, insisting it was just an aggressive approach to defence that he was
keen to maintain.
"Rugby is a physical game and you have
to play in a physical way. You can't be hesitant in what you do or you... end
up in trouble yourself," said Farrell.
Given how close games between Racing and
Saracens have been, both Carter and Farrell are sure to have key roles to play
in the final.