Printer Friendly

What Dan Biggar actually did to help Wales beat England and the verdict on handing him back the No.10 jersey; He has received countless plaudits for his show off the bench.

Byline: Mark Orders

The one certainty after Wales' win over England and his own role in it is that Dan Biggar will not get carried away.

He knows, after all, how quickly fortunes can change in sport.

In 2015, he was voted Welsh Sports Personality of the Year after his performances for Wales at the World Cup in England. He beat Gareth Bale to the award, despite the Real Madrid man playing a key role in the national football team qualifying for their first major finals in 57 years.

His goal-kicking technique turned into an internet dance sensation, aka the Biggarena; and his work in front of the sticks in the key pool game against England was superlative and then a bit more. Everyone wanted to interview him thereafter.

Less than a year later there were calls for him to be dropped from the Wales team.

As a former Australia coach once said: "One day you're a rooster, the next you're a feather duster."

So Biggar is unlikely to allow his feet to stray too far from terra firma after Saturday's events at the Principality Stadium.

Even so, praise came in from far and wide, with pundits and supporters queuing up to pay him tributes. Some fans even blessed him with 'deity' status.

Tweet 1

But what did Biggar actually do during his 20 minutes or so on the field?

MARK ORDERS has been trawling through the match tape...


His arrival on the field proves startling in itself, with a rapturous welcome for the individual who has split Welsh rugby opinion in the past. As he takes his position, many supporters in the ground clearly see him as the man who has pitched up to win the game for Wales, with England 10-9 ahead.

In his capacity as BBC TV's co-commentator, Jonathan Davies says: "It's going to be close and this is the man who can finish a job off."

But within seconds England kick a penalty to extend their lead to four points.


England have had little joy from their kicking strategy but were to continue with it to the bitter end.

Now Biggar is on the pitch and he is the safest pair of hands in the entire Welsh side under the high ball.

He leaps high to take Ben Youngs' box kick.

He is later to outjump Elliot Daly to collect an excellent kick from Gareth Davies and on 73 minutes he soars again to gather a bomb from Owen Farrell.

Wales 21-13 England


The move that yields Cory Hill's try actually started three-and-a-half minutes earlier.

Biggar features in it during phase 14 as he makes two metres after a dummy.

But there is a far more telling intervention to follow.

As the phases pile up, Wales are awarded a penalty advantage and the replacement fly-half unleashes a sumptuous 25-metre pass off his left hand to George North, cutting out three English defenders and putting the wing into space.

When North is held up near the flag, Biggar arrives quickly at the ensuing ruck and acts as scrum-half, throwing out a short pass which allows Hill to run against the grain through the remaining cover.

It is a try, and a glorious one.

And Biggar has played a key role.

The conversion attempt is from just beyond the 22, on the wrong side for a right-footer and at an angle, but it is knocked over.

Wales are 16-13 ahead.

Six Nations Wales V England match in pictures


Wales could be in trouble as Gareth Davies has an attempted clearance kick charged down in the home 22.

But the ball bounces the way of Biggar and there is no panic: the 67-cap player has been playing Test rugby for more than a decade and he knows what to do.

It is still a bit of an eye-opener, mind.

Biggar kick

He banana-kicks the ball into touch some 45 metres upfield. Around the ground, red-clad supporters roar their approval. They have just witnessed grace under pressure.

There is a further kick out of the Welsh half with a four-second hang-time. Jack Nowell collects, but as he does so George North is on the scene, closing him down.

Wales England post match podcast


Wales again have a penalty advantage, this time after a scrum, and the ball is worked infield from near the touchline.

England are tired and the hosts have just had success running at them.

But Biggar cleverly plays what he sees and rockets a 45-metre kick across field in the direction of Josh Adams. The Worcester Warrior has performed terrifically all game and he outjumps Daly, who is not finishing the game well, and Wales have their second try.

"What a kick this is," says Jonathan Davies, watching the TV replay of Biggar doing his stuff.

"He knows it's a free play.

"Dan Biggar has made the difference since coming on."

The scoring is over. Wales are 21-13 winners.


Many people would respond to the above question with an unequivocal 'yes'.

The kind of form he showed against England deserves reward, after all, and the argument will be that should mean Biggar holding the reins for the trip to Murrayfield on March 9.

Remember, he had also performed exceptionally to steer Wales to victory off the bench against France earlier in this Six Nations.

Biggar 2

But there is a counter-argument and that is that these super-sub cameos actually suit Wales down to the ground, allowing them to utilise the attacking skills of Gareth Anscombe early on before bringing on Biggar to settle things.

Some would point out when Biggar did actually start in this year's tournament, against Italy in Rome, he was a mixed bag.

So it's a tricky issue for Gatland and one he will need to manage with skill.

Ultimately, he needs to factor in Anscombe's form.

There is no doubt the Cardiff Blues player is talented. He is someone who can create and he has vision, a quality that can be priceless to a side.

But he was steady rather than spectacular against England.

He did some decent things but there were errors. He may have edged his duel with Owen Farrell, but the England captain was surprisingly ineffectual. The top-performing fly-half in Cardiff on the day was Biggar, and by some distance.

From here, he looks deserving of the No. 10 shirt with his aerial skills, his defence, his kicking, know-how and sheer will to win.

Those aerial skills could be especially handy against Ireland on March 16.

But let's see what happens next time out.

That Anscombe is a quality player is not in doubt. Does Gatland stick or twist? It's a nice position for a coach to be in.


Credit: Getty Images

Dan Biggar came on and was magnificent

Credit: Pic: BBC

Dan Biggar's missed pass opens England up
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 25, 2019
Previous Article:Why buying local is the smart thing to do for Welsh economy; The next time you buy flowers don't go online but go the local florist.
Next Article:Oscars 2019: The winners and losers from the Academy Awards; It was a good night for some at the 91st Oscars but a disappointing night for others.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters