Saturday 18 November 2017

Biggar key to Ospreys' ambitions

Hugh Farrelly

HE'S still only 22, but Ospreys out-half Dan Biggar has been on the scene for quite a while, racking up 102 caps and 981 points for the Welsh region over five seasons.

There was a time when Biggar was considered the natural successor to Stephen Jones in the Wales No 10 jersey and he made his international debut a few weeks after his 19th birthday against Canada in 2008. However, since then Biggar has added only eight more international appearances as Rhys Priestland emerged as Warren Gatland's chosen playmaker and took to the role with considerable assurance.

Nonetheless, Biggar remains a central figure for the Ospreys and is set to mastermind their attack against Munster in the Pro12 play-off semi-final at Liberty Stadium on Friday night. He goes into the match in good form, having guided the Welsh outfit to a tricky 18-11 away win in Aironi, courtesy of two penalties and a conversion.

Munster are opponents Biggar knows very well, having faced the province 11 times in both league and Heineken Cup, and he will be looking to add to the 79 points he has amassed in the fixture so far.

With Welsh internationals streaming out of the regions, primarily to France, Biggar is bucking the trend by staying put and recently turned down a lucrative offer to join Racing Metro.

"I'm a local boy and it is important to play for your home region," was his explanation. "I am happy at this club and that has been particularly the case over the last few months.

"It was a flattering offer to have but I don't think it would help my case if I left. I want to get back into that Welsh squad and challenge for a place, all I can do is keep performing and I am looking forward to hopefully picking up some silverware at the end of the season."

Munster will have something to say about that, particularly with Ronan O'Gara expected to return, but Leinster will remember Biggar's assured control when the Ospreys picked up the league title at the RDS two years ago. His is an old head on young shoulders and, with their analysis well under way, Munster will know that stopping Biggar will go a long way to booking their place in the final.

Irish Independent

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