Dan Biggar: I never had doubts about my Test credentials
DAN Biggar has revealed he never doubted his ability to play international rugby and is looking forward to building on his promising performance in Paris.
Wales’ fly half has endured a five-year battle to be the number one choice and is being given his big chance during the Six Nations.
A mixed bag in the 30-22 defeat to Ireland in the competition opener in Cardiff was followed up by a much better day on the weekend.
It was the Ospreys outside half’s cute chip which helped break the deadlock when it was so clinically finished off by wing George North.
It gave Wales the lead against France with just eight minutes to go in a nerve-shredding encounter.
Full back Leigh Halfpenny’s beautifully struck touchline conversion and long distance penalty then gave the visitors a 16-6 victory, Wales’ biggest in Paris since 1975.
Biggar’s performance has gone some way to vindicate the faith caretaker coach Rob Howley has in him, preferring him at No 10 to people’s choice James Hook.
Starting regularly matters hugely for the 23-year-old from Swansea, whose star has been on the rise since playing a major role in the Ospreys’ shock 31-30 PRO12 Grand Final win over Leinster in Dublin last May.
“You don’t learn by sitting on the bench or in the stand, you learn from being out in the heat of battle and getting used to the tempo of the game,” Biggar said.
“Playing week-in, week-out is when I feel I play my best. I’m a player who likes being in the rhythm that playing regularly gives you.
“I feel it’s especially important in any side to play your first-choice half-backs as much as you can, as long as their form is good.”
On his chip for North’s try, the giant Scarlets wing’s 12th touchdown in 28 Tests, Biggar added: “It was nice to finish off a tense game in that sort of way.
“I never doubted myself. When you doubt yourself, it becomes a very uphill battle.
“I’ve always believed I’ve some ability to step up and it’s just nice we managed to put it together at the weekend.”
He acknowledged he still has plenty to learn in the fickle, hurly-burly world of Test rugby where reputations can be made or broken in the space of an afternoon.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it from minute one to 80. I’m under no illusions my performance was perfect,” Biggar said.
“There was some errors in it but games like that there are going to be some. I think we made a couple less than France did and managed to edge it.
“It’s still very early days. I want to try and build on what was, as an individual, a solid performance in Paris.
“It was a good start and, hopefully, I can improve week-in, week-out.
“I have taken huge confidence out of these two games. It’s been a great playing with great players in this great tournament.
“It’s not bad playing at the Millennium Stadium one week and the Stade de France the following week.”
Biggar added: “The experience has been unbelievable and it’s a real privilege to play with that shirt (10) on your back.
“It’s something I want to try and keep hold of and build on because it means very little if we don’t build on a great victory out in Paris.”
On Wales’ win, their first in eight months after a terrible run of eight defeats, he added: “It certainly wasn’t a classic – it was attritional.
“Defences were on top and it took something like that, a bounce of the ball, a little bit of luck or improvisation to break the defence down.”
Howley is so delighted with their triumph, he has named the same starting XV to go to Rome on February 23.
“Rob naming the team early has given us two extra days to prepare for what could potentially be a more difficult task in Italy,” Biggar said. “It’s good for the players early doors to know the team, what plays you are taking in and so on.”
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