Lions Squad Predictor: The half-backs

The half-backs are the most important people on the pitch. They dictate the tempo of play, and are crucial in making sure the team plays in the right area of the pitch. As such it is an area in which Gatland must make no mistakes, and while there are some strong candidates, there is perhaps not the strength-in-depth that previous tours have been blessed with.

Whoever makes the plane as scrum-half will have the unenviable task of shackling the at times unplayable Will Genia. At fly-half, the Aussies have a host of choices, some of whom may not be available for off-field issues. That said, they still boast a list of options that most other countries would be envious of.

Definites: Ben Youngs, Mike Phillips, Johnny Sexton

Two of the three scrum-half spots are nailed down. Ben Youngs was consistently good over the Six Nations, but has really burst into some sublime form since returning to the Tigers. His breathtaking 80 metre solo try against Bath last weekend was a thing of beauty, and shows why he absolutely must tour. His box-kicking has also come on massively in the past year, and is up there with the best in the world. Much was made of Mike Phillips lacking form and fitness coming into the Six Nations, and after that loss to Ireland he was massively under pressure. Four games later, however, and those calling for him to be dropped had been made to look mightily stupid. Abrasive, strong and full of niggle, he must be no fun to play against. While Youngs has the more explosive game to perhaps match Genia, Phillips could certainly be relied upon to get in his head.

Gatland has said that he plans to only take two ‘out and out’ fly-halves, meaning Johnny Sexton, hands down first choice despite his recent injury troubles, is the only man guaranteed his place in this position. Sexton’s game is significantly more complete than his rivals, and for that reason he must be one of the first names on Gatland’s squad list.

Probables: Owen Farrell

No scrum-halves make this list because it is too close to call as to who will get the third spot – it will all come down to what Gatland is looking for in his third choice. Owen Farrell shifted himself into prime position to take the fly-half understudy role over the Six Nations, showing the kind of composure and awareness that have helped thrust him to the top of the England fly-half list. He showed more of a propensity to attack in the opening game against Scotland, but did struggle to back that up in the ensuing games, reverting to type and sitting deeper. He could be a good man to bring on in the last twenty minutes to steady the ship, and for that reason he sneaks into the probables category.

Possibles: Jonny Wilkinson, Greig Laidlaw, Danny Care, Conor Murray, Dan Biggar, Ian Madigan, James Hook, Toby Flood, Rhys Priestland

If Wilkinson outplays Farrell this weekend when they go head to head in the semi final of the Heineken Cup, he could well leapfrog the young pretender into the probables category. At the moment he is slightly behind, purely because he plies his trade at Toulon and that will be a tick in the ‘con’ column for Gatland. They are very similar players, and it could easily be argued that his experience means he would be more useful on a one-off tour like the Lions.

Other contenders for the fly-half role include Dan Biggar, who led the Welsh line superbly in the Six Nations, Toby Flood, who has excelled back at Leicester recently but who wobbled when given a chance in the Six Nations, and James Hook, whose versatility makes him a very attractive option. Rhys Priestland’s return to action last weekend probably comes slightly too late for him, although having worked together with Wales Gatland will know what he has to offer. If he were taking three fly-halves, Ian Madigan might have been worth a shout as a very unlikely bolter, but with only two likely to go it is highly improbable. He does offer similar versatility to Hook, however, and has been in superb form for Leinster.

The third scrum-half spot is a three-way shootout between Greig Laidlaw, Danny Care and Conor Murray. All three have their strengths, although Murray’s similarities with Phillips probably put him at the bottom of the list. Danny Care would be the most attacking option, given his almost unparalleled ability to find holes around the fringes, but he showed against Italy that his decision making and box-kicking can sometimes be found wanting. Laidlaw has the bonus of being able to cover fly-half as well, which could work heavily in his favour. He is also a third different type of player, with a more controlled game but none of the explosiveness of Youngs or abrasiveness of Phillips. Whether that works in his favour or not is not really clear yet.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

57 thoughts on “Lions Squad Predictor: The half-backs

  1. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)
    Jonny Sexton (Ireland)
    Mike Phillips (Wales)
    Owen Farrell (England)
    Conor Murray (Ireland)
    Ben Youngs (England)

  2. At flyhalf Sexton is for sure the only definite. Gatland has been stated saying that some players may not be ready for a lions tour. I think he’s talking about Owen Farrel here. Although he is a great player his arrogance and inexperience will probably work against him. Despite playing his trade over the channel, I would take Wilkinson as my second fly half. He has the experience to come on in the last 20, slot his kicks, play tactically and shut a game out. I agree with the two definites at 9. The third choice has to be Laidlaw. Gatland said that he will take a versatile player who can play ten as well as other positions. Laidlaw showed over the 6 nations that he’s up there with the best and can really control a game.

    1. I don’t think it matters about age, it is composure that matters and Farrell is normally the most composed player on the pitch, so disagree with you totally. I’m sure at this point that many Celts will point to one game where he lost his rag. Cian Healey anyone, Martin Johnson, Danny Grewcock, etc, etc. He will have learnt a good lesson. He will go with Sexton, Youngs and Phillips, although I’m not as keen on Phillips as many others. It wasn’t that long ago that most Welsh supporters were calling for him to be dropped.

      Very tough for the last two places. One of Murray/Care/Laidlaw – whichever one Gatland takes a shine to. I’d probably go for Laidlaw due to his versatility which may be at a premium on tour. I’d go for Biggar at FH, but depends if a utility back is wanted and then its Flood or Hook, although Farrell can play centre (just!).

      1. This weekend is huge for both Wilkinson and Farrell. I’ll ask you this though Staggy? Who would you rather have on the pitch at 10 if the Lions were 3 points up with 60mins on the clock. Wilkinson has done Lions tours and won the World Cup before. His experience surely puts him on top of Farrell.

        1. True, but the apparent lack of contact between Gatland and Toulon suggests that none of their players will be chosen

          1. But apparently Gethin Jenkins will be.. Very disappointing if he ignores end of season club form for French based players. Also applies to Nathan Hines!

        2. Whitey. Not disagreeing. Just had ruled out the French based players from going based on reports this week.

  3. Despite being a big Farrell fan, I would take Wilko and Sexton. Farrell can always be flown in as cover.

    Youngs, Phillips & Laidlaw would be my three SH choices, and probably in that order. Youngs is on great form at the moment, and just pushes the defence a little more in his unpredictability. Phillips is steady and dependable in an almost extra flanker style, but is not likely to trouble the Aussies defence off the back of the scrum, or on a counter attack.

  4. I’d go with Youngs and Phillips as SH, Sexton and Farrell as FH, and Laidlaw to cover both. Seems to work for me.

  5. I think a point to bear in mind is that, with Halfpenny a nailed on tourist and likely starter in the back 3, the emphasis on a composed, goal kicking fly half is somewhat lessened. I feel this actually brings Flood back into contention. Farrell is starting ahead of him for England because as he is younger and therefore in need of exposure and whilst there isn’t a huge amount to choose between them they may as well go for the younger option.

    Flood was the player who has managed to get England’s backline going in the past, but mainly when teamed up with Youngs. Together they form an extremely intuitive pair which I think WG may find intriguing. Against Italy he copped alot of flack but actually I felt was England’s best player and it was others around him who let him down.
    He is often the forgotten man but plays a similar game to Sexton, runs the ball and distributes well, plus has far more experience than people think so he would be a ‘sleeper’ second candidate.

    1. Interesting point. If Gatland thinks that Halfpenny will start (which he will), and Phillips is his prefered choice at 9 – he may see the Youngs/ Flood axis as a good option off the bench. As you pointed out, the goal kicking duties will be taken by Halfpenny anyway. Not sure I see that happening, but an interesting option.

    2. Yeah a very interesting point to consider. Youngs and Flood play so much better when they are together – and Gatland has spoken in the past of the need for established partnerships. They also know how to get the best out of Tuilagi, which would be a huge bonus.

    3. It’s a good point, but I think we need to keep in mind that the midweek teams needs a kicker as well. 1/2p and Sexton are unlikely to be ousted as first choice for the test team so a Farrell or Wilko for midweek seem like the only 2 options (Flood has just never found the consistency at the top level).

      1. I think that Laidlaw will be in the midweek team – again negating from the midweek 10 needing to be a great kicker.

        I would also say, that Flood is not completely useless off the tee!

        1. Flood’s goal kicking has never really been a problem for England. He had a really bad day against Wasps but every goal kicker has that, even Leigh Halfpenny and Jonny Wilkinson. I think if three fly halves were going to be taken then Flood would be my third behind Sexton and Farrell, but as only two are I’m not sure he’ll make it. As Geech said yesterday, there is bound to be one or two shocks and one of them may well be Farrell being left behind for Flood or Biggar.

          Lets not forget Flood is a very experienced player, much more so than Sexton and maybe Gatland is looking for a more experienced head in his most pivotal position. Toulon on Sunday will be the decider I think for Gatland. If Farrell upstages Wilkinson I think that will put him on the plane. A less than assured performance could push Flood ahead of him as I think those two are neck and neck right now.

          1. The point about Biggar is a good one. Wales haven’t tended to ask too much of their fly half in recent years. Phillips used his physical dominance and the exp. of the tight five to give a pretty good platform to Priestland and Biggar, who both made sensible if un-flashy decisions, give the ball to players who could make a difference. Whether it was Williams, Roberts, Davies or North. Neither are ‘explosive’ players particularly, but distribute well, kick well enough and play with enough composure.

            Biggar also took Ospreys to a Pro12 title away to Leinster at the RDS, sinking that last minute kick to win the game, so we know he’s got bottle and experience of konwing ‘how to win’. I think he could be one of the surprises. There will be plenty of fire power in the backline so maybe Biggar could be the quiet figure required just to let them get on with it.

            It’s not necessarily about getting the best XV players on the field but the best team together.

  6. Youngs should start though. Apart from Genia, (and possible Khan), he’s the best 9 in the world when on form.

  7. Sexton, Youngs, Philips, Laidlaw and …. I can’t decide who I would rather take between Wilko and Farrell …. which ever of the 2 gets the upper hand this weekend!

    Somehow I just can’t see that Toulon are going to be competing in a top 14 final (assuming they make it) without Wilkinson. Loyalty to his team mates will be put before a personal goal of the Lions, so I think it will be Farrell that tours.

  8. In a late bid for Lions selection Danny Cipriani has proved he’s not afraid to tackle by taking on a bus!

  9. At the outset of the 6N I was not promoting MP for reasons stated, see posts, but for the Lions tour have to agree with the three definits of Ben Youngs, Mike Phillips, Johnny Sexton. Third scrum half has to be Care; simple on where the tour is. As to a second 10 for me it has to be Farrell. Can’t buy into any rationale for taking Laidlaw as he is, my opinion, very one dimensional whether at 9 or 10, which the Aussie will love as it will basically give them an extra defender. The Aussie back row won’t be able to step back if either MP, BY or DC play. As to a third 10, Flood on experience, or a straight choice between, James Hook as a utility back, or Rhys Priestland if fit or Dan Biggar. If Hook goes then no need for a 3rd 10.

    1. Gatland has stated that he will only take two tens, and a third player that can fill in there if need be. This raises the chances of Laidlaw, and Hook in my opinion. I would say it also rules out Biggar and Preistland.

  10. I think Phillips slowness will be shown up on the fast grounds that we can expect in Aus. With the slight exception of the England game, he was glacial for Wales in the 6 Nations. He also has a tendency to get buried at the bottom of rucks, which will be no good defensively against someone as sharp as Genia

    Youngs to start, Phillips for mid-week.

    Then I’d go for Laidlaw due to his versatility. Shame for Danny Care as I’d like to see his speed used against the Aussies, but Laidlaw offers more all-round

  11. On Farrell’s composure – he lost it in two big games. In the France game he ran around like a slap happy teenager. In the England game his entire performance went to pot as Wales piled on the pressure. So I’m not convinced that he has it, right now, to do something as huge as a Lions tour. Yes, he’s played some decent games as well, but he’s now looked flaky enough to me in the big ones that I am not convinced by him. I’d take the 2nd choice Ireland outside half – once Ireland decide who that is.

    I’d have Phillips in the test team. Youngs’ party trick of the quick tap-go won’t fool the Aussies as much as it does the slower Prem sides. As with Farrel in the 6N, when the pressure was on Youngs’ game went missing. Italy, France and Wales games were not good performances.

    I worry that Laidlaw looks great because he shines in an average Scotland team? Will he look so good when he has front foot ball and is expected to dominate a match rather than live off scraps and pinch the odd win?

    1. To be I don’t agree on Youngs in the 6N. The whole England team was terrible against Wales, so it is very hard to criticize him. Anyone who plays 9 knows it is impossible to look good behind a pack going as backwards as England were that day against Wales. Against France he was actually really good, and he was rested to the Italy game – so I am unsure what he did wrong here? Also, he is not just a quick tap 9 (Care is mind you), he has a lot more to his game than that (see Ireland 6N game for evidence) – his box kicking is as good as any 9 in the world, and his game management is improving all the time.

      Also, if you are going to criticize 6N performances, other than the England game, Phillips looked slow and poor. There were calls for him to be dropped half way through the tournament, so again I don’t think this adds up.

      In saying that, both are good 9s, both will be in the test match 23 for each game, and I would be happy for either to play as they are both very good 9s!

      1. Didn’t think England were terrible against Wales, thought they played mediocre rugby in the 6 Nations and were just caught out on the day against Wales – Farrell will be a good choice but in the future if he matures as a player – give him a few years and maybe

    2. Sorry I would add, I sort of agree with you on Farrell. But I would still take him just due to lack of other options. Also, he strikes me as a guy that learns quickly and really applies himself. I think he would have learnt a lot from his stropping in the French game, and we won’t see it again.

    3. Think Youngs and Philips will make a good combination, regardless of who starts and who is the replacement. At the moment Youngs is looking leaner, faster and sharper than I’ve seen him before. He likes the hard grounds, his party piece was good enough to bag him a couple of tries against the Boks, where as Philips’ party piece of ball carrying like a 3rd flanker hasn’t resulted in him crossing the line in his last 18 internationals. I think there is a proper contest for the shirt, but whoever gets is going to need the game of their lives to be better than Genia.

      Agree the “ice man” didn’t cometh but more melteth in a couple of the games. Still think he’s our second best B+I based option, at least he now experienced games of that magnitude and I’m sure will learn from it.

    4. You must be joking – Paddy Jackson was terrible!! Farrell was selected but some pretty fantastic and experienced heads (Pienaar, Umaga, Greenwood) as one of the world players of the year. McGeechan (lions god) called him a test match animal. Sexton goes missing in plenty of matches that aren’t for Leinster.

      Mike Phillip’s incredibly slow pace will not trouble Genia in the slightest. Warren Gatland recently said he was impressed by Youngs in the Wales game, all the more because Eng were going backwards. Watch his try against Australia from 2010 to see why he should be no. 1

      1. Robbo – Paddy Jackson isn’t the only other Irish choice. I’d go with Madigan.

        That IRB shortlist was a joke. They should hang their heads in shame for trying to suggest that Farrel is one of the 4 best players in the world. He’s not even one of the 4 best at Saracens.

        McGeechan has done plenty wrong in the past and he was extremely wrong about Farrel. A test match animal does not lose his cool in a game against France. He does not go sheepishly missing in a game against Wales.

        We don’t need Phillips pace to trouble Genia, he can do that fine by physically dominating him. Young doesn’t have the pace, guile or physicality to trouble Genia.

        Try against Australia from 2010 … says it all really. Any other players who had great 2010 matches that we should pick? Let’s just ignore 2011, 2012 and 2013….

        1. Well, I think if you’d watch any games recently besides Welsh ones you would see Youngs qualities. Far better than anything Phillips can offer. If you doubt his pace, check 1) last weeks game against bath 2) the week before against wasps 3) his break in the AB game – it goes on.

          Pretty good selections here by the fantastic Wayne Smith

          1. “Far better than anything Phillips can offer” – utter rubbish.

            They’re both good players as most people on here agree, to try and claim that Youngs is out and out ahead of Phillips is laughable and just shows that you have a strong prejudice here. I can see either starting and wouldn’t fault Gatland for picking either one providing we get the game right. I go with Phillips, and have my reasons, but I can see moderate people’s reasons for going with Youngs. Your complete dismissal though of Phillips is just wrong.

          2. Also I think it’s worth bearing in mind the results of the 2 players against Aus recently. Youngs has won 2 or 3 games against them in the last couple of years, where as Wales, with Phillips at the helm, have struggled.

            Youngs is the better attacking player and whilst Phillips may be able to bully some NH 9’s does anyone honestly think Genia will be so easily flustered?

            Phillips general movement around the pitch and speed of delivery from the breakdown is torturous to watch, I wouldn’t take him at all but know that he will go. Youngs should start.

  12. Pablito – what fast grounds? look at the Aus v Sco clash last june – not very fast and dry was it! Plus Philips did well in SA on the ACTUAL fast grounds.
    Philips is brutal – Youngs is quick. So it depends what game plan Gatland goes for and maybe which 10 he opts for. I would think Youngs will maybe be on the bench for the first game then start the next 2

    1. I think you’ll find that the Aus v Sco game was pretty unusual.

      Phillips did well 4 years ago against SA. But…

      A. It was 4 years ago. He is not the same player
      B. It was against SA. A very physical side and a very different challenge

      Phillips is too slow and with the exception of the England game has not been in great form.

      BTW Brighty
      – Youngs vs Genia – won 2 lost 0
      – Phillips vs Genia – won 0 lost 5

      Don’t think Phillips will be doing much dominating…

      1. Wow, Youngs beat Aus by himself? That is impressive. I take it all back – if he can single handedly get two wins against the Aussies then he’s obviously 1st choice scrum half and also captain.

        Youngs did well against Aus but

        A. It was 3 years ago. He is not the same player.
        B. It was against a different Aus team.

        “with the exception of the England game” – but we’d have to make exceptions then for Youngs as well? What we have here are two very good scrum halves but a polarised debate i.e. if you want Youngs then the temptation is to make laughable claims about Phillips being too slow and vice versa.

        I don’t “except” the England game. I look on that as a true test – title and trophy up for grabs, an away match in front of a hostile crowd, the biggest stage that NH rugby has to offer. Phillips was exceptional, Youngs was not. Phillips turned up for the big occasion, as he has done in the past and I expect him to do so again. He is the true “test match animal”. Phillips 1st choice, Youngs on the bench.

        1. ps. The weather for the Aus v Sco game was not that unusual. I have a fair few friends who’ve returned from hols in the Aussie autumn and moaned about crappy weather.

          1. The average weather down there is 20-25 degrees – thats pretty decent I would argue! And I hope it is that warm because I’m going all the way down there for it!

            Re: Youngs vs Phillips debate – they are both class. But I think that Youngs has been more consistant over the past year (hard to argue with even for you Brighty), so I would go with him. Taking a guess on the fact that Phillips may turn up for the big game is a hell of a risk.

            With this one though, it will be decided whilst they are out there so all that is being discussed in regards to past performances is a bit irrelevant. Whoever Gatland feels is sharper and best suited to his game plan will play.

          2. Jammy bugger, wish I was going …

            Yes, both very good players. We’ll probably find out who the test player is during the tour matches.

            I’ve heard that it is warm but prone to downpours, hence the “hard grounds” thing is a bit of a myth. It’s like Florida in August – hot, then the mother of all storms, then hot again…

        2. Childish Brighty. Of course I don’t claim Youngs beat Aus by himself

          However, you claimed Phillips would dominate Genia. Where do you get that idea from exactly?Phillips hasn’t managed that in the five losing games he’s played against him. Youngs on the other hand has had the upper hand twice

          Your last paragraph is rubbish by the way as Youngs didn’t play Wales this year. Care was the scrum half. And whilst I may say except for the England game, I don’t think Phillips played particularly well then either – just better than he had been and made to look good by the efforts of those around him

          Personally, I’m not a great fan of Youngs either, I think his decision-making is often suspect and his passing is not great.

          Phillips is not a good passer as well and is slow to the breakdowm. All he offers is his physicality and that is a double-edged sword as he often ends up under a pile of bodies

          Its Hobsons Choice isn’t it though? Two not great scrum-halves but there’s no-one else to pick. Shame that Kahn fella who plays for the Ospreys hasn’t been here longer

          1. Pablito… Youngs played against Wales im sorry to tell you. Care came on as a sub and butchered Englands best scoring chance by kicking the ball dead 5 metres from the try line.

            Phillips actually has an accurate pass, i think what you’re getting at is his speed of delivery.. where he is not exactly lightning.

            I’m not an advocate for starting Phillips (even though i am Welsh) as i thought Genia did get the better of him down under last year.

            But thats the problem with picking on past performances.. whose to say it’ll be the same this time around? Thats why picking on form is far more important, which im sure Gatland will do!

          2. Ah. My mistake and apologies. All I can remember is Care not doing so well (to put it mildly)

            I think my mind has tried to cloud over the traumatic events of that day…

        3. In reply to your comment above Brighty, I would still take Phillips because he is a good player. And I would say too that he has attributes and parts of his game that are better than the other options at 9, namely that he is strong enough to play like another flanker.

          However, overall, I think Youngs is is more dangerous. My vehement opinions about Phillips are not because I do not think he is good, but because a lot of people seem to see him as a certainty, despite plenty of ropey performances of late. Interestingly, Michael Lynagh and S Fitzpatrick raised similar concerns about his game and suggested BY offers more, so I am not entirely alone here.

          I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know they also had croft and robshaw as test players!

  13. I’d take Sexton, the winner of the Farrell v Wilkinson duel on Sunday, and James Hook. So much uncertainty at 10 – I think Fly Halves should travel!

    That would allow Gatland to take Youngs, Care and Phillips. Care is bang in form, Youngs has good history against Aus and Phillips should go as first choice. But what do I know :)

    If anyone wants to enter this Lions squad selection competition it ends tonight at 10pm – guess Gatland’s squad (e-mail to your rugby friends!)

  14. With regards to Gatlands comments about 2 x FH plus one who can cover, he could of course be looking at Farrell as a centre?

    I had discounted Flood, but i do like the thought of him coming in tandem with Youngs. Probably won’t happen though.

    I would like to see Phillips used as a sub. His direct style would be very effective against tiring defenders – particularly if it is necessary to chase the game.

    In all honesty I would like to see Laidlaw go, but I do struggle to see where he would fit into the grand scheme other than cover for both first and second choice half-backs.

  15. Phillips, Laidlaw, Sexton for sure maybe Farrell but I think actually gatland may put faith in one of his off form welsh players. I think Priestland might get a place even without earning one at the moment. maybe even Biggar might have played himself in over the 6n. As for a 3rd scrum half I’ve no idea. Maybe go for the Italy strategy and put in one of the countless flankers there are available Robshaw at scrum half anyone? :-)

  16. I dont think Laidlaw should go, but as he can cover 10 and because he is Scottish it could put him ahead of Care and Murray. However I just feel that Care has been playing some superb rugby over the last 2 years and has taken his game to new levels. Put it this way, if Care was Irish he would start ahead of Murray, if Care was Scottish he would start ahead of Laidlaw and if Care was Welsh, he would probably have taken Phillips’s place last year due to his poor form.

    As for the 10s, Sexton obviously will go. Gatland was saying in his interview with Sky that some England players may not be ready, and Barnes commented he could be talking about Farrell. But considering the lack of other options, I can see him sneaking in. I can’t see Gatland taking Biggar and Hook, who he classed as the 2nd and 3rd choice fly halves for Wales and Wilkinson wont go because of Toulon commitments. I also think Twelvetrees could go as a 4th centre to replace Davies who covers 10, or a 5th centre who covers 10.

    Youngs, Phillips, Care, Sexton, Farrell, Twelvetrees as cover. Laidlaw and Hook on standby.

    1. Dave that is a very cynical view to suggest that Laidlaw may go because he is Scottish.

      But I think you may be right. If I were in Gatlands shoes, I would probably do the same.

      It is well known, but often less well said, that the Lions squad should be the best squad, not necessarily the 37 (or whatever the number is) best players. This is very important and getting a “balance” is absolutely crucial as almost everyone who has experienced good and bad Lions tours in the past will point out. Even Henry and Woodward who went with a different view at their time.

  17. I don’t think Farrell should be anywhere near that plane to Australia. I really can’t see what all the fuss is about with this guy, to be honest.

    People are comparing him to a young Jonny, but to even suggest he is in the same mould as Wilko is ludicrous. For me, Sexton obviously makes it as first choice 10 – he is miles ahead of the rest. Hopefully he’ll be 100% fit and ready to go. I’d have gone with Priestland if he hadn’t got injured, as he often brings out the best in centers Davies and Roberts. He may not be the best goal kicker, but his awareness, vision and reading of the game is brilliant.

    My second choice fly half would be Biggar. Let’s not forget what he did in the 6N this year. He stepped into the team and effectively stepped up when Wales seemed in disarray early on in the Championship. His classy chip kick for North’s try against France was perfectly timed, his beautiful line breaking pass for Cuthbert to roll in for the try against Italy and of course his controlled display against England in the final game can not be overlooked.

    It would be foolish not to take Biggar, in my opinion.

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