Monday 5 December 2016

Biggar punishes Biarritz

Andrew Baldock

Published 13/11/2011 | 05:00

Ospreys forwards coach Jon Humphreys hailed an "exceptional" performance by outhalf Dan Biggar yesterday.

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Biggar delivered an immaculate goal-kicking display, booting seven penalties and a conversion for a 23-point haul.

It is almost a year since Biggar last featured for Wales, not winning representative honours since a painful 16-16 draw at home to Fiji last November.

But he performed with exactly the level of maturity and composure required to guide the Ospreys through a tricky Pool Five opener at Liberty Stadium.

"I thought he was exceptional," Humphreys said. "He is fantastic for us. He is diligent and the best-prepared player in our team. He leaves no stone unturned.

"He deserves all the plaudits he gets. Do we want him back in the Wales set-up? Yes. Will we miss him if he is back in the Wales set-up? Yes."

Former England wing Iain Balshaw scored two tries for Biarritz, but his opposite number Tommy Bowe's second-half touchdown -- and Biggar's unswerving accuracy -- ensured a winning Ospreys start.

Biggar finished just three points short of equalling Gavin Henson's Ospreys Heineken Cup record of 26 against Harlequins seven seasons ago.

And it is now 17 games since the Ospreys lost a Heineken Cup match at home. At times, they made hard work of it, struggling for fluency in their attacking game, but with Biarritz regularly conceding penalties Biggar was in no mood to let them off the hook.

"We are happy with that," added Humphreys. "It was a difficult first game against a Biarritz side with their stars returning from the World Cup.

"It was a bit of a stop-start game, but we showed great resolve in the second half and to defend like we did during the last five minutes."

Having been Heineken Cup quarter-finalists in three of the past four seasons, the Ospreys are determined to go at least one step further this time around.

At times they made hard work of it, struggling for fluency in their attacking game, but with Biarritz regularly conceding penalties Biggar was in no mood to let them off the hook.

And victory over Italian hosts Treviso next weekend would send them into next month's double-header against English Premiership champions Saracens in a confident mood.

"If I am honest, I thought we were fortunate to win the last time we played Treviso away," said Humphreys. "It is going to be an extremely tough game, but hopefully we will get what we need."

Apart from outscoring the Ospreys 2-1 on tries, Biarritz also had the consolation of collecting a losing bonus point, that could prove crucial in the final pool shake-up two months from now.

"I am very happy with the way the team played," Biarritz rugby director Patrice Lagisquet said.

"I felt that we deserved a draw, and to score two tries against the best defence in the Celtic [RaboDirect] league was pleasing."

Scorers -- Ospreys: Bowe try; Biggar 7 pens, con. Biarritz: Balshaw 2 tries; Bosch 2 pens, con; Traille d-g.

Ospreys: R Fussell; T Bowe, A Bishop, A Beck, S Williams; D Biggar, K Fotuali'i; D Jones (R Bevington 57), H Bennett (R Hibbard 47), A Jones (A Jarvis 63); A-W Jones, I Evans (R Jones 61); G Stowers, J Tipuric (J Bearman 40), J Thomas.

Biarritz: D Haylett-Petty; T Ngwenya, M Bosch, D Traille, I Balshaw; J Peyrelongue (B Baby 50), D Yachvili; F Barcella (Y Watremez 75), B August (A Heguy 53), S Marconnet (F Gomez Kodela 62); J Thion, E Lund (P Taele-Pvihi 73); B Guyot, I Harinordoquy, R Lakafia.

Referee: A Small

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