Biggar the perfectionist wary of Wallaby tricks

·3-min read
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar (AFP/Geoff Caddick)

Veteran Wales fly-half Dan Biggar, insisting he has been rejuvenated by his move to Northampton, has warned of a bag of Australian tricks when the two sides meet on Saturday.

The 32-year-old goal-kicking playmaker will win his 95th Welsh cap when he takes to the field against the Wallabies in Cardiff.

Twice a tourist with the British and Irish Lions, Biggar has a further three caps to his name for the select team after starting in all three Tests in the 2021 tour to South Africa.

But since making his Wales debut in 2008, there is no doubt that Biggar, a master of the kick and chase, has had his critics.

The mantle of being the incumbent Wales fly-half can be a tough one to handle in a country which produced the likes of Barry John and Phil Bennett, immortalised in Max Boyce's song that imagined a factory hidden in the Welsh valleys producing magical No 10s.

"I don't think you guys have been satisfied with me for 10 years," a tetchy Biggar told journalists after being questioned on an uncharacteristically under-par performance in the stuttering 38-23 victory over Fiji last weekend.

"I am not really sure what you want me to say or what you want to write or how this is going to be interpreted or fished out. Was I overly happy with how I played on Sunday, probably not. Could I have played better? Absolutely.

"Was I disappointed from a team point of view we could not be a bit more fluid? Yes. But I would review that game exactly the same as a game in which I had man-of-the-match in and had nine out of 10."

- Very skilful -

After losses to New Zealand (54-16) and South Africa (23-18), and the win over the Fijians, Biggar said: "We have to make sure we win on Saturday for it to be a decent autumn, otherwise it will be disappointing.

"Everybody was aware the New Zealand game was going to be a difficult ask for us in that first week. We were very disappointed not to win the South Africa game after fronting up incredibly well.

"I have played Fiji four times in my career and I have never been involved in a particularly good performance, collectively and probably individually as well."

Turning to the Wallabies, for whom James O'Connor starts at fly-half, former Osprey Biggar said they were a "very skilful side".

"They are going to have lots of tricks up their sleeves with a very well coached team in terms of their set-up."

While acknowledging he was in the latter stages of his career, Biggar said he felt he had "tons to give" and felt making the Wales squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France was "realistic".

"I turned 32 last month but I don’t feel 32 when I'm training or playing," he said. "I’ve become a better player since going to Northampton (in 2018). I’ve learnt more about myself since going there, and I feel good.

"There's always been someone in Wales who is or is perceived better than me, and for the last 12 years I’ve played there’s always someone who can do a better job.

"I’d like to think being around as long as I can I’ve done some things right in my career and managed to do alright."


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