Biggar hopes Wales can go under radar


Wales fly-half Dan Biggar
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar scored 20 points in the Six Nations defeat against France in March 2021
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 11 March Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and online from 19:30 GMT; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru; text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Wales captain Dan Biggar says he is happy for people to be talking about Grand Slam-chasing France ahead of the Six Nations showdown in Cardiff.

Fabien Galthie’s side are searching for a potential fourth leg of their first Six Nations clean sweep since 2010, with many observers calling France the best side in the world.

In contrast, defending champions Wales have suffered defeats against Ireland and England and narrowly beaten Scotland, when Biggar kicked a match-winning drop-goal in his 100th international.

“For us, it’s going to have to be a huge performance to pick up a result but we are quietly confident,” said Biggar.

“We are quite happy for France, for [Antoine] Dupont, [Romain] Ntamack and Shaun [Edwards] to take all the headlines and the stardust and things.

“We are hoping to go quietly under the radar and do our business on Friday night.”

It was almost a year ago that France inflicted Grand Slam heartbreak on Wales in Paris.

After Wayne Pivac’s side had led for most of a captivating contest, Brice Dulin crossed at the end to seal a 32-30 home victory.

Wales still lifted the Six Nations title the following weekend but the tournament clean sweep slipped through their fingers.

So is revenge on Welsh minds?

“Not this weekend, we haven’t once mentioned it,” insists Biggar.

“We’re not bothered if us winning stops France with the Grand Slam or championship.

“We are just worried about making sure we finish on a high.”

Wales might have suffered defeat last year against France but displayed a blueprint of how to compete in the face of the Les Bleus revolution.

“It was unfortunate we were playing them in that Grand Slam game in Paris and we couldn’t quite get over the line,” said Biggar.

“It’s funny that campaign, we won four games up until then and played pretty well against England.

“But there’s no doubt the French game was the best we played as a team and we ended up on the losing side.

“We took the game to France and made it clear we weren’t just going to absorb what they were going to throw at us.

“It is difficult with the world-class players France have got. You’re not going to stop them scoring 20-plus points because of the talent and power they have.

“So we knew that we were going to have to score 20-plus points to be in with a shout.

“That was our mindset then and it’s still the same now.”

Wales’ team in Paris was close to full strength, but Pivac had had to contend with a lengthy injury list over the last 12 months.

The New Zealander has not picked the same starting XV in 25 matches since taking over at the end of the 2019 World Cup.

“There have been a huge amount of injuries which has prevented the [same] team being named,” said Biggar.

“The boys are aware of our structures and plays and what we are trying to achieve.

“It’s not a big deal for us in terms of the team changing, it’s about whoever comes into that team trying to make them feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

“I think there’s a bigger picture with Wayne. He has looked to develop some strength in depth leading into next year’s World Cup.”

French flair

Biggar accepts France have improved since last March 2021, having beaten New Zealand last November and opened the Six Nations campaign with wins over Italy, Ireland and Scotland.

“The form they’ve showed over the last 12 months, they’re playing some exciting rugby underpinned by an incredible-sized pack and ball carriers they’ve got,” added Biggar.

“This French team is probably slightly different to the team we’ve played over the last few years in terms of the size of the pack and in-form players and coaching set-up.

“They’re not going to dish too much up for you to feast on. It’s about being disciplined ourselves, matching them physically and starting the game well.

“Physicality is a huge thing for us on Friday night. You look at the way they dismantled Scotland in the second half.

“It’s about making sure we’re physically ready. We’re going to have to earn what we get on Friday night.”

Biggar and Tomas Williams will be up against France’s formidable half-back partnership of Dupont and Ntamack.

“Dupont has a huge influence and his partnership with Ntamack has flourished and they’re in good form,” added Biggar.

“They’re going to be huge dangermen.”

Dan Biggar and Shaun Edwards embrace after the 2019 World Cup defeat to New Zealand, Edwards' final match with Wales
Dan Biggar and Shaun Edwards embrace after the 2019 World Cup defeat to New Zealand, Edwards’ final match with Wales

Then there is defence coach Edwards, who spent more than a decade in Warren Gatland’s Wales backroom staff before saying farewell after the 2019 World Cup.

“Shaun has made a huge difference going in there and added some real discipline and work ethic,” added Biggar.

“They have always been talented, we’ve always come up against monstrous athletes, but they have got that real edge to them now and look the real deal.

“He sent me a text after the Scotland game. That was nice of him to send a message, but I haven’t been in touch with him since then.

“Knowing Shaun, he will be business as usual until the final whistle.

“Then I will probably look to have a catch-up with him after the game.”

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