Biggar Move to English Prem not All Bad

It should come as no surprise to hear that Dan Biggar’s name has been doing the rounds on the rumour mill. The Ospreys’ golden boy was arguably the most in-form of the outside halves on the Lions tour, despite Gatland opting for the Sexton-Farrell axis for the tests. He didn’t have a bad performance and overall, the Lions series gave him a platform to show the world quite what a solid, consistent player he is.

Biggar contemplates his future, looking east across the Beacons...

Biggar looks east across the Beacons

It’s emerged that Northampton Saints are eager to sign the Welshman and poach him for the season after next. The salary and fee involved is likely to dwarf his Dual Contract currently paid by the club and WRU. Despite the Scarlets beating favourites Leinster to the title, this could be a bad sign for the Welsh regions in general. It follows a list of Welsh players stolen away by English and French clubs, and a general inability to keep in-prime talent within Wales – Liam Williams the most recent. With the World Cup coming to Japan in two years, and the Ospreys man presumably a crucial cog in Welsh ambitions, it leaves you wondering whether his departure from home turf will have detrimental long term effects.

But who can really blame him for leaving?
At 27, Biggar is coming into his prime and a decade of service for the Swansea-based side more than deserves the chance to move away and sample new climes. And although the Saints have had a mixed bag of performances since their first league win in 2014, they still have the quality, attraction and ambition to become a force in English and European rugby. He’ll likely come in to begin replacing veteran Stephen Myler, and keeping the versatile up-and-comer Harry Mallinder in his favoured Centre position.

What does it mean for the Ospreys?

For now the Ospreys retain his service for another season. In terms of replacing Biggar the obvious choice is clearly Sam Davies. The youngster has enjoyed a decent season and is neck and neck with rival Patchell to claim that coveted second-string flyhalf spot. Next season should go some way to settling that very healthy dispute. Without Biggar, the Ospreys may suffer temporarily but Sam Davies needs a chance to settle into regular rugby and developing his own playing style as well as key relationships with teammates; Webb in particular.

What does it mean for Welsh World Cup hopes?
Much the same as with the Ospreys, a matured Sam Davies could provide a dynamic and flatter distribution to Biggar’s depth for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. In that regard, the versatility and depth in the outside half position is good, healthy news for the Welsh camp. Davies brought much verve to the backline during the 6N, particularly against Italy, and held up fairly well against the South Pacific teams. Whether rival and Scarlets’ Rhys Patchell is better largely falls along the Ammanford line, but the competition is healthy. For years, Biggar and Davies have been master and apprentice, but in a season’s time, the apprentice must make the trade his own.

What does it mean for Dan himself?

As with the competition between the youngsters, Biggar would also benefit from having some talent snapping at his heels for that first team spot. Unless a fantastic Welsh flyhalf emerges in the next two years, Biggar should realistically expect to take one of the flyhalf spots for the World Cup. His experience as a Lion and as a World Cup Welshman (I’ll just leave this here…) make him invaluable to any club regardless of form. He can benefit from playing with and against a higher calibre of players in the English and European leagues – that is to say, a wider catchment of NH and SH talent. Perhaps that is the flyhalf formula needed for a World Cup Welsh team in two years time – One veteran with cosmopolitan experience, and another fresh from being schooled in the ways of the Welsh outside half.

Of course, playing away from the homeland can have its own personal effects. Biggar is a family man first and foremost, but with that £6.70 set to be abolished, Dan can rest easy and enjoy his time abroad.

25 thoughts on “Biggar Move to English Prem not All Bad

  1. Another English club also undermining Welsh rugby with a fist full of $’s? WR sitting there like the 3 monkeys?!

    1. What do you mean by the last part Don?

      “WR sitting there like the 3 monkeys?!”

      You believe the Premiership clubs are “Evil”?
      “Evil” suggests malignant intent right? Do you believe that the Premiership clubs private owners (or some of them) have an intent to undermine Welsh rugby?

      1. Blub
        Er… World Rugby. Interesting that YOU mention the word “Evil”. English (& French) clubs are undermining world rugby, not just Welsh & in the process, ultimately, their own games. Just like soccer. Meanwhile, WR sits on its hands.

        1. Hey Don,

          yes I took the liberty of inferring that your note of “WR sitting there like the 3 monkeys?!” was reference to the proverb of the 3 Wise Monkeys that give birth to the phrase;
          “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

          I do apologise if you referred to something else.

          What did you mean by it?

          1. Blub
            Unfortunate that the word ‘Evil’ seems to have been taken as the main thrust of my comments. I meant that WR sits by & does nothing, although I can understand how you may have (miss?)viewed my post.

            1. Don,

              I didn’t mis-view your post. I mis-inferred your reference of 3 monkeys.

              Perhaps there should be a fresh proverb;
              see no underming of club rugby around the world, hear no underming of club rugby around the world, speak no underming of club rugby around the world.

              Or find a better analogy.

              1. Blub
                You’re being a bit personal again I think. Analogy makes my pt, but you chose to hone in on the ‘evil’ thing. Anyway, each to his own.

                1. Don’t be so silly Don. This is nothing personal – I don’t know you.

                  This is a comments board, so I am simply commenting on your comment, not you.

                  Your comment was very short, and it used the analogy of the 3 monkeys which either implied “evil”, or was the wrong analogy.

                  Genuinely, I am sorry if you feel it is a personal slight.

              2. Blub
                What’s silly & what do you want from these communications? The last word? I made a comment on a rugby issue. You responded by descending into word play & minutiae off the subject, including telling me what I SHOULD’N’T choose as an analogy. What’s that if it ain’t personal (& condescending)? After all, don’t we both live in the so called free world? @ times you seem to be the combined moral & word police & engage via yr critical parent ego state fella. If you disapprove of what or how I post, you don’t HAVE to respond to it or give it a 2nd thought. It’s just not rugby!

                1. Dave, Don, I do not want the last word, so I will not post on this page again.

                  Dave, I like your Nigel Owens reference. I feel appropriately chastised.

                  Don, to answer your question, it really very simple. I read your post as implying “evil”. I disagree with this. If I inferred incorrectly I apologise.

                  Word Police? If I am, I am not very good at it, as I do not know what a “critical parent ego state fella” is. I assume that its not something to be proud of though.

  2. They aren’t putting a gun to his head and forcing him to take the contract…this is as much to do with the individual as it is the club looking to sign him.

      1. On the contrary, my post sought to expand the realms of blame beyond that of a rugby team with pennies to spare to encompass the motives of the character of the person accepting the “bribe.”

        I appreciate that rugby is a shortly lived career and players need to cash in when they can, but equally if said player cared enough about playing for his country and supporting his country’s club rugby from professional down to grassroots, he (or she) might not be so easily swayed. It would be fairer to say that the player accepting the big money contract themselves are insular, rather than one armchair fan’s (my) comment on a blog which wasn’t intended as a barb, but which certainly seems to have rubbed you up the wrong way, Mr. P.

        My view isn’t limited to Mr. Biggar either, I hold exactly the same opinion of one Steffon Armitage, too (before accusations of nationality and bigotry come to the fore).

        1. Smithy
          The issue I initially commented on rubs me up the wrong way. My point is that without the provocation or initiation by the wealthy NH clubs then the SH players would be unable to respond… & that WR doesn’t address the bigger picture of the weakening of both SH & in turn NH rugby. Just look @ what’s happened to the English national soccer side. Look @ what’s happened to Top 14 rugger & in turn to French International rugby team.. or to SA last yr. Human nature, self interest I know, but if not some forethought by WR, then by whom? Yes, that rubs me up the wrong way. Shouldn’t it you too in the longer term?

  3. I think Don is making a valid point, albeit the bit about English clubs being evil did make me laugh. It’s not necessarily only the English clubs either – the French have been ‘stealing’ for a while now too. You look at the XV Welsh squad and most play their rugby abroad.

    Now I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing for national welsh rugby, but it means that the regions are somewhat capped at a certain talent. The last two star Scarlets to leave for England, North and now Williams, illustrate that. The Scarlets have a host of talent ready to step up and they bloody well won the Pro12! Shows you what emerging talent and a good team style of play can get you instead of simply throwing money at it. If the Welsh clubs can continue to produce the raw talent, then they can continue to stay competitive that way. The English and French clubs can then refine them into the international players the Welsh national side needs them to be.

    1. Dave B
      Ironically(?), it was Blub who mentioned “Evil”.
      That players play abroad usually inhibits their country of origin’s access to them. Also it’s not in the interest of clubs to ‘loan’ their ’employees’ out to a national side which may crock them. Not convinced about the ‘refining’ bit either. Inhibiting maybe? @ least in certain instances. E.g., relatively stating, will Liam Williams ever see the ball. And was Geo North an improved winger for the recent BIL’s tour? Or were Watson & Nowell outstanding on tour?

      1. Don P – Aye yeah, I know you didn’t use the word evil, but I still found it funny whoever suggested it. I imagine the English clubs putting their little fingers to their mouths and spouting some ridiculous transfer fee.

  4. Dave,

    The majority of the Welsh XV squad certainly do not play abroad.

    5 of the 32 who toured in the Summer played abroad. Those 5 included Phil Dollman who never got close to the Wales squad when playing in Wales, Tomas Francis who is English, and Thomas Young who simply followed his Dad’s work as a child and graduated through the English system.

    Of the Lions, several play in England (or will do) but there is no way this becomes anywhere close to a majority.

    Additionally, I am sure that Leigh Halfpenny would be happy to play in Wales, if anyone wanted him.

      1. Hard to disagree that a hell of a lot of the Welsh starting XV aren’t playing out of Wales. Currently not at a Welsh region are: Faletau, Moriarty, Charteris, Roberts, Williams, North, Halfpenny and Francis that all start games regularly for Wales – that is certainly higher than almost every other nation than South Africa I would think?

      2. Dave, I misread your “XV Welsh squad” as referring to the squad of the XV a side game (distinct from 7 a side).

        I too, do not think its a bad thing as long as they remain available for Welsh duty.

    1. Blub, Leigh H will be in Scarlets next season. I think plenty of people wanted him (particularly Cardiff) but he (or rather in truth his agent) was in search of a ‘French’ salary in Wales; no way!

  5. Ospreys can keep him
    We’ve just signed Francis who looks like a much better prospect if the Argentina tour is anything to go by

    Rumors are just rumors…
    …Until they aren’t

    1. If its for the following season Leon, Saints may well see Myler coming to the end of his usefulness (horrible view, but that’s professional sport!).

      Never been a fan of Biggar, but I’ll be honest and say that he really impressed me on the Lions tour.

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