Dan Biggar’s 2021 has been a year of ups and downs with Wales’ Six Nations title and Lions caps blighted by Grand Slam heartbreak and defeat in South Africa… now he’s desperate for crowds and atmosphere when international rugby returns
- Dan Biggar has had a mixed 12 months with Northampton Saints and Wales
- He enjoyed Six Nations success and made three starts in the Lions series
- But the Welsh were denied a Grand Slam when beaten by France in Paris
- South Africa were also victorious in the Lions series, despite going 1-0 down
Dan Biggar is looking back, and forwards, like most of us at this time of year on a 12 months of ups and downs with varied dollops of pride and frustrations.
First 2021’s frustrations that the Wales and Northampton fly-half hopes do not continue into 2022.
As a player so fuelled by the raw emotion of big, bursting occasions, Biggar has hated having no one in to watch him and his teams in locked-down periods.
Fly half Dan Biggar has endured a mixed 12 months with both Northampton Saints and Wales
With Scotland and Wales bolting shut their stadium gates again fears of another tumbleweed Six Nations are real, and not welcome.
‘I am just relieved to have signed for a club in England!’ Biggar laughed.
‘I think the rest of the lads in Wales are pretty frustrated with it. That’s normal frustration isn’t it?
‘We are probably getting into different things with politics now but I think everything should be aligned.
‘I hope for an event like the Six Nations and for the game up and down the UK moving forward we get some sort of sensible outcome.
‘As long as everyone is safe and jabbed then I think it makes sense to keep crowds in.
‘You see what a difference it makes to an occasion. You saw it in the autumn, getting crowds back.
Biggar is concerned that the 2022 Six Nations could be forced behind closed doors once again
‘Everyone coming to games now has to have a passport, they’ll be double or triple-jabbed, and it’s an outdoor event so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be allowed in.
‘As long as it’s safe that’s the most important thing. It would be a huge, huge step backwards if there are no crowds moving forwards for clubs and the Six Nations which is obviously such a show-piece event.
‘We played a lot of games with no crowds and if you look at the first handful of games they almost felt like training games. It felt like it did not really matter whether you won or lost because it felt like a training match and like the intensity was knocked out of it.
‘You lose any advantage of playing at home and bits and pieces like that.’
Biggar was a key part of Wales’ 2021 Six Nations title win in front of nobody. He loved achieving that, but hated being denied a Grand Slam in the 85th minute by a try from France’s Brice Dulin in Paris.
He then achieved the pinnacle of his playing career, starting three Tests for the Lions as their No 10.
Biggar was a key part of Wales’ 2021 Six Nations title win in front of nobody earlier this year
But they were denied a Grand Slam in the 85th minute by a try from France’s Brice Dulin
But while that was tinged with regrets as the tourists lost 2-1 to South Africa in a dour series, Biggar remains resolute about what it represented for him.
‘I know the Lions tour divided opinion and there were a lot of column inches written about it, but for me to get three Test caps was massive,’ he added.
‘That was a huge goal. If we’d have won the series there might have been some column inches written still but we would have been celebrating a massive success.
‘One penalty decision either way and there’s a very different slant on it.’
While the transfer merry-go-round is in full swing now, Biggar will not be flung around. Here is his case for the Premiership, a league he loves and will be staying in for at least another 18 months.
‘I have always said that the quality of rugby week in, week out may not be better than the United Rugby Championship or the Top 14 but the intensity of week in week out, every game matters,’ he explained.
‘Every game is do or die. We played the champions last week and this week we are playing Saracens, who are probably the form team apart from Leicester.
He then achieved the pinnacle of his playing career, starting three Tests for the Lions at No 10
But that was also tinged with regrets as the tourists lost 2-1 to South Africa in a dour series
‘Then we play Newcastle away in the space of two weeks. That’s the reason I am here. You look at say George Ford, he has not left the Premiership he has just changed sides and then Leicester have brought in Handre Pollard who is a World Cup winner.
‘For me week in, week out you are playing against the best players in the world in front of sell-out crowds. For me it has not lost any appeal.
‘I am at a club I am playing for a club that is playing a positive brand of rugby and it has helped me become a better player. There’s no doubt about it in my eyes.
‘Ultimately Chris Boyd is my boss and if you get on with your boss and you have got respect for your boss and a good relationship then your day, your week and your season tends to work a lot better.
The 32-year-old, is desperate to repay the Saints who have been so good to him.
The 32-year-old, is desperate to repay the Northampton Saints who have been so good to him
‘I really excited about the future of this group,’ he said.
‘We’ll iron a couple of things out, be better in a couple of areas but I absolutely love it here and am very well looked after.
‘I hope I can keep repaying that as there are so many good people at the club and the club is so well run so I hope we can deliver a bit more success on the field in 2022.
‘That’s a huge aim for me, if we can push for silverware in the next 18 months. I think the club deserves to be pushing for that.
‘You don’t get anything given to you in this sport so you’ve got to knuckle down, work hard and try and deliver.’
With Biggar it has always been that way, whatever tumult is around.
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