Farrell admits he’ll have to keep his cool when Lions play in Australia
Having lost his cool in the Hong Kong heat, Owen Farrell admits he'll have to improve his discipline when the British & Irish Lions hit Australia.
The fly-half scrapped with his Saracens clubmate Schalk Brits just seven minutes into the Lions' opening tour match at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday.
Though not the initial aggressor, the incident added evidence to those who question if he can handle the pressure of being the team's main creator at just 21.
And Australian players will no doubt be keen to exploit any suspect temperaments.
Farrell swung at Brits after the South African got fed up with him holding at rucks and blindsided the Englishman on the jaw.
Brits received only a yellow card, with referee Steve Walsh suggesting he'd have sent him off had it been an important game.
Brits was cited and yesterday banned for three matches.
"When someone reacts to you you try not to take a backward step, not just on this occasion but on every occasion," Farrell said afterwards. "I just grabbed him, there was nothing in it and nothing in what happened afterwards.
"These are big games. Every game you're going to play for the Lions is massive and to lose someone to the bin would be massive. You can't afford to do that and everyone's got to be disciplined and that's the way we've got to play the game.
"There's a fine line. You don't want to throw punches."
The fact that it is warm here in the summer appears to have amazed the English press travelling with the Lions, and they universally panned the decision to bring the Lions to Hong Kong.
Under constant meteorological interrogation from the press, players were unanimous that the heat and humidity were the toughest conditions they had played in. But Farrell said the players would benefit.
"I've never played in humidity like that. It was tough but it wasn't unbearable," he said. "We'll have to get our recovery right."
He added: "It was stop-start at times, but that's what happens in conditions like this. I don't think many people will have experienced that before.
"I definitely think we'll benefit from it. Playing conditions in Australia won't be bad after playing in this. I thought we took each other through it well … and that's going to put us in good stead for the conditions in Australia."
The temperature in Perth for the Western Force on Wednesday should be around 10 degrees Celsius lower - but the intensity will be way higher.