Dan Biggar ‘feels’ for New Zealander replacing ‘relentless’ Owen Farrell at Saracens

Colin Newboult
Saracens and England fly-half Owen Farrell praised by Wales legend Dan Biggar.

Saracens and England fly-half Owen Farrell praised by Wales legend Dan Biggar.

Wales legend Dan Biggar believes that Owen Farrell will be “almost impossible to replace” as the fly-half reaches the final stages of his Saracens career.

The 32-year-old is set to depart the Londoners at the conclusion of the campaign after signing a deal with Racing 92 in the Top 14.

That end could even come on Friday night when they take on Northampton Saints in the semi-final of the Premiership at Franklin’s Gardens.

Farrell has become a legend for both Sarries and England, and Biggar reckons that it will be a challenging transition period for Mark McCall’s men.

Sarries’ new number 10

Fergus Burke, who is English-qualified, will join from the Crusaders to take the playmaking position next season, but it will be a big hole to fill.

“You can replace players but you can’t replace personalities and Farrell’s departure will have a huge impact. I feel for the number 10 who has to replace him because there will be constant comparisons,” Biggar wrote in his MailOnline column.

“He is a leader who drives standards and has had real authority at the club for years. You could argue he’s had more influence than the coaches themselves. It reminds me of Sir Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United, he is almost impossible to replace.”

Luther Burrell’s Premiership predictions: ‘Battle of the 10s’ to decide semi-finals and what gives Northampton a ‘huge advantage’

The consensus within the game is that Farrell is a hugely misunderstood character and Biggar, who played against the Sarries fly-half on numerous occasions but also with him for the British and Irish Lions, agrees that the criticism of the England legend has been harsh.

“What happens tonight will have no impact on Farrell’s legacy. We’ve had plenty of battles but the respect I have for him is off the charts,” the Welshman wrote.

“He doesn’t get much love from the public because he’s so aggressive and abrasive, but that’s his biggest strength. It’s relentless and he’s the greatest player Saracens have produced.”

France move

Farrell shocked English rugby by signing a deal with Racing in January, thus forgoing the chance of representing the Red Rose over the next couple of years.

The former captain stepped back from Test rugby ahead of the Six Nations to protect his and his family’s mental well-being and, as a result of his move to the Top 14, will continue to be ineligible for England due to the RFU’s policy of not picking overseas-based players.

Biggar, who currently plies his trade with Toulon, is fascinated how the 32-year-old will adapt at the Parisians given his “dominant personality.”

The Wales great added: “What he says generally goes at Saracens. He’s used to having things his way and, as a fellow number 10 who has moved to France, it will be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out in Paris.

“It helps that he has worked under Stuart Lancaster before but the French psyche is very different. They do things a certain way and they don’t change for anyone, whether you’re Farrell or Siya Kolisi.”

READ MORE: Northampton v Saracens: Courtney Lawes leads Saints in final home match as Premiership holders load squad with 20 internationals