Saltwater crocodiles have a stronger bite than any other animal in the world.

Harder than a lion, a hippopotamus or a great white shark, crocs slam their jaws shut with 16,460 newtons of unimaginable force. For context, humans might exert five percent of that figure – 890 newtons – when munching into a juicy sirloin steak.

Despite their extraordinary power though, crocs wait for their victims to come close, snatch them with their teeth before dragging them under water and drowning them.

As a method of attack it leaves far less room for error than entering into the lottery of a slugging match.

Owen Farrell could learn a lot from saltwater crocodiles.

The 21-year-old’s unsightly scuffle with Saracens teammate Schalk Brits while on British & Irish Lions duty on Sunday revived concerns about the fly-half’s temperament and his ability to channel his aggression in a constructive manner.

Australia will no doubt have been watching closely as Farrell unleashed his right fist into Brits’ face; after all, there’s nothing the Aussies like more than a ticking time bomb to wind up.

The textbook prescription for a tendency like Farrell’s is ‘controlled aggression’. Aggression suppressed and slowly allowed to ooze out at precisely the right times.

The trouble is aggression by its very nature is damned difficult to control. Aggression is instinctive, reactionary and more often than not, innate in a person’s character.

For sportsmen in particular, where the heat of battle and the chance for confrontation is so frequent, explosions of aggression are entirely inevitable.

Farrell does not have to try and ‘control’ his aggression in the sense of concealing it.

Just as a crocodile’s ferocious bite is an important asset to its hunting, Farrell’s combativeness and refusal to back down are valuable assets to his performance.

That uncompromising aggression puts him in an exclusive bracket of sportsmen for whom a will to win takes priority over rational thought.

Sport's most successful aggressors – John McEnroe, Diego Maradona, Shane Warne to name just three – all pandered to their aggressive instincts whenever they needed them most.

Farrell then must exploit his natural character to the full. But he must also be cleverer, more efficient – more saltwater crocodile-like in his execution. He needs to hunt more beneath the surface.

That doesn’t mean engaging in the grisly foul-play rugby has done so well to eradicate over the past decade, far from it.

Farrell is fortunate his trade allows instinctive aggressors plenty of opportunities to expunge their belligerence entirely legally.

Tackling, rucking, sprinting, clearing out opponents – these facets of rugby are all done better when the adrenaline is pumping full blast.

Farrell is the player he is today because for the vast majority of the time his ferocity helps, rather than hinders, his actions.

There’s no need to engage in slugging matches but there’s also no need for Farrell to check himself every time he sees red.

Clever aggression, turned up to the max but unleashed with a dose of saltwater shrewdness, is what Farrell should strive for.