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Biggar to Saints is a bad idea - Barnes.

DAN Biggar's arrival at Northampton Saints may provide the big name outside-half the Aviva Premiership club has yearned for, but it won't help pilot the Midlanders back to the higher echelons of the English game.

Instead Franklin's Gardens director of rugby Jim Mallinder would have been better off going for a player with the same attributes to Biggar's Ospreys and Welsh No.10 rival Sam Davies.

That's the belief of top rugby pundit Stuart Barnes, himself a former outside-half for England and the Lions.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Barnes said: "Great news for the Saints even if they have to wait a year.

"In Dan Biggar they have finally signed a high-profile flyhalf.

"Northampton have needed an outstanding, top-of-therange model for years.

"But are his qualities the right kind for the Saints? Is he the right fit? That is another question.

"From his perspective there are a couple of decent reasons for joining an English team who have consistently declined in recent years.

"He mentions one of them when saying 'playing in a town and surrounding area which has a massive passion for rugby was a huge attraction'.

"The other reason he doesn't mention. Money.

"It may be vulgar to mention the filthy lucre but the 27-yearold has a chance to boost the pension pot.

"Few would resent Biggar his payday. In a hard man's world he has earned it.

"So a great fit for the man himself, but I am not sure he is the ideal fly-half for Northampton.

"Amid the many strengths to his game, there are weaknesses.

"Foremost among them he's been an antipathy to approaching the gain line.

"He is a fly-half who likes to drop deep - into the pocket - and bombard the heavens with those towering kicks.

"The forwards love it, the midfield not so much.

"The Ospreys and Wales midfield have too often played second fiddle to the predictable kicking game.

"Biggar can play on the gain line but he needs encouragement.

"Rob Howley has spent plenty of time pushing him flatter, and that is when he has enjoyed the benefit of the super-slick passing Rhys Webb alongside him.

"He'll miss that symbiotic relationship."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 11, 2017
Words:361
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