‘It made me feel a million dollars’
In Wales’ opening match of the World Cup, Dan Biggar was picked up, in the first half, giving teammate George North a right rollicking.
Wales had looked on course for a vital win when they looked impressive, for long spells, in the first half but they were left hanging on in the closing stages after a late Fiji surge.
“Tonight was about anything but me,” Biggar reflected after the match, and a close win. “I just wanted it to be special for the team, the Welsh people in the stands here, the people back home, and hopefully it will be special for me in the end.”
Following that win over Fiji, Wales head coach Warren Gatland spoke about the extra motivation Dan Biggar had, going into the match.
“It would have been Dan’s mother’s birthday today,” said Gatland. “She passed away a few years ago, so it was pretty emotional for him. I hope she was looking down on him, maybe that’s the case.”
On his on-field upbraiding of George North, and other teammates, Gatland said, “I don’t have a problem with that.
“It is about making people accountable. There were times in the first half where we put the ball through the hands or maybe there was a kick option. We probably weren’t as clear in our comms and decision-making as we needed to be.
“There is nothing wrong with players challenging each other. We want that to be part of the group. Everyone is accountable, peer pressure is huge and we all need to take responsibility. That sort of criticism is not personal, it is about the individual getting better. We need people to be able to be critical.”
As for Dan Biggar himself, he wrote, in his Daily Mail column, of messages he received from Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and England legend Matt Dawson.
Both men, who know what is required to win a World Cup, reached out to let Biggar know they love how much winning means to him. In his RWC diary, Biggar wrote: “I woke up to a voice note from Cheslin Kolbe [on Monday] saying Siya Kolisi had asked for my contact details. Later on, I opened up a WhatsApp from an unknown number.
“It was Siya. His message said: ‘Hey bro, hope you’re well. Just wanted to say well done to you and your boys. Loved your passion for the game. All the best for the rest of the tournament.’
“To get that message from someone like him made me feel a million dollars. I listen to that more than some of the ex-players trying to keep themselves relevant!”
Biggar has been hanging out with Nice and Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey a bit, this week, and also revealed in his column that he was fined by the squad sheriffs for bringing in a barber from Toulon.
‘They’re not happy with their trims,” he wrote.