Champions Cup: Farrell is Ronaldo as Saracens become rugby's Real Madrid

Deadly - Owen Farrell slots over another penalty
Deadly - Owen Farrell slots over another penalty

Holders Saracens launched the defence of their European title with a stunning eight-try win at Northampton. Ralph Ellis stands back in admiration.

"Top of the Aviva Premiership after six games – they are 2.1211/10 to go on and be Grand Final winners - it’s hard to see who in either competition stops them from winning it."

In football or rugby it's always a good way to start a row if you suggest any given side are a one-man team.

I've heard people in Wales getting angry when it's said about Gareth Bale, and Mauricio Pochettino certainly got in a mood when Pep Guardiola called Spurs "the Harry Kane team". In France they used to be none too pleased at Toulon when the British press went over the top about the contribution of Jonny Wilkinson.

But when it comes to the biggest games in the biggest competitions, there's no doubt that having one outstanding, world-class player is the difference between winning and losing.

So will we end up classing Saracens by the end of this season as the "Owen Farrell team"? It's beginning to look that way.

Farrell, still only 26, added another milestone to his remarkable career on Saturday when he went past 600 European Champions points during Saracens' runaway 57-13 win at Northampton Saints.

It was a statement victory as Sarries, 2.915/8 favourites to win this year's European Champions Cup, set out to join Toulon as the only club to have lifted the prize three seasons in a row.

While the club's director of rugby Mark McCall likes to rotate his team and takes Farrell out of the firing line at times, there's little doubt that when it comes to the biggest games the England fly-half is the club's talisman.

Like Wilkinson in his pomp he not only kicks the points but dictates the play, inspires those around him, and isn't afraid to get stuck into the nitty gritty side of a physical game as he proved in an unseemly dust-up with Teimana Harrison who wanted retribution for a poor tackle on Ben Foden.

But then this Saracens team have shown that they can play the game any way. The one-dimensional side of a few years ago has started to blossom. Now if they need to keep the ball in the forwards and grind out an ugly win they can do it, but if they want to open it up they can do that too.

Signing British Lions winger Liam Williams was a master stroke to add an extra dimension of attacking flair as he proved with two tries against Saints.

As I wrote at the start of the Premiership season when they had subjected poor Northampton to a similar 50 point humiliation, they have also developed an ethos of backing up talent and technique with superb team spirit.

Top of the Aviva Premiership after six games - they are 2.1211/10 to go on and be Grand Final winners - it's hard to see who in either competition stops them from winning it.

With two European Cup wins in a row and ambitions for a third, Saracens are rugby's Real Madrid. And Farrell is rapidly becoming the sport's answer to Cristiano Ronaldo as the complete player in his position.

Unlike Ronaldo, however, he's no prima-donna. He sets an example with work ethic and his humility off the field - no wonder Sir Clive Woodward believes it is time for England manager Eddie Jones to make him captain for the Autumn internationals.

At club level he will go on being the man that makes the difference. So at the risk of starting a row with somebody, why not call Saracens "the Owen Farrell team"?

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