Saturday 16 December 2017

'I was rooming with Johnny - it was probably the narkiest room in the hotel'

Dan Biggar, left, and Jonathan Sexton
Dan Biggar, left, and Jonathan Sexton
Biggar: “We are all confident characters who are not afraid to speak our minds and say what we think. That will suit the team well." Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Everything the Lions will do in the next six weeks is carefully co-ordinated and thought-out in advance, so Warren Gatland clearly had a plan in mind when he paired his two cranky out-halves in the same room at Carton House last week.

Dan Biggar and Johnny Sexton are known for their harsh tongue on the training field, but the combination worked according to the Welshman who is beginning to think everyone else is the problem.

They are in competition for the same spot ultimately, but the chance to bond has clarified Biggar's thoughts as the team boarded the first of three planes on their long journey to New Zealand. Players can not let personal ambition get in the way of Test success is his conclusion.

The Ospreys pivot is in a three-way battle for the No 10 jersey on the tour with Ireland' Sexton and England's Owen Farrell.

The tourists kick off their first game on tour 72 hours after they arrive in Auckland on Wednesday, taking on a Provincial Barbarians side who are perceived to be the only potential soft-touch on their agenda.

The battle for the starting out-half berth looks set to be one of the fiercest in the squad with all three proven competitors, but having spent a week in close proximity to both of his rivals, Biggar says the tour can only succeed if they are open with each other and don't see it as a personal battle.

"We are competing for the same position and we all want to play in that 10 shirt, but the most important thing is not the battle for places but we do everything on and off the field and back whoever is playing in all the games because we have the chance to achieve something historic," Biggar said.

"We are not holding anything back from each other: the greater aim is to win the Test series so if any of us has any knowledge that can help the team win games from small detail, it is important we put it out there.

"We are all confident characters who are not afraid to speak our minds and say what we think. That will suit the team well.

"What I have found interesting working with (Sexton and Farrell) is the amount you pick up off them, and that goes for other players as well. We have chats after training and talk about tactics. The two have so much knowledge and it is really interesting.

"I was rooming with Johnny Sexton last week, it's probably been the narkiest room in the hotel, but it was a really good week. Johnny and I have got on really well, maybe everyone else is the issue! We've always gotten on well after playing so often against him, it is good to be on the same side.

"I am looking forward to challenging him and Owen, I'm looking to see how clever their brains are and being with them gives you a good perspective on 10 play."

From the off, Biggar is expecting the out-halves to come in for some fearsome treatment against the Kiwi sides.

"As a 10, teams try to target you, putting big runners down your channel. They see you as a weak link, and my attitude is that I like that," he said

"I work hard and do not mind putting it about a bit. I look to what teams see as a strength for them into a weakness.

"I enjoy a game when it is tight and physical and you have to muscle up a bit.

"All three 10s in the squad are good defensively and I hope there are no weak areas."

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