Wales’ Dan Biggar admits he knows how under-pressure Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels – with the weight of scrutiny on the fly half ahead of Australia clash
- Dan Biggar has admitted there are always people who say he should be replaced
- The outside half will hope to help his side to a win against Australia on Saturday
- Wales are without 16 players due to injuries but are hoping to upset the Wallabies
It is backs to the walls time once again for Wales, battered, bruised but unbowed in the face of a savage injury list they face Australia on Saturday with much to prove.
For their fly-half Dan Biggar, ’twas ever thus. For 13 years now he has felt unfancied, under-appreciated and under the cosh from the Welsh public – but he is still here battling on at No 10, winning a 95th cap today.
A Manchester United fan, who recently sat near Sir Alex Ferguson as Liverpool thrashed his team 5-0, he likened his role this week to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s at Old Trafford.
Dan Biggar has admitted he feels like Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (pictured)
The Wales fly half referenced the vocal criticism of those who have said he should be replaced
‘I thought Welsh rugby was complicated, now we’re into a real battle!’ he said when asked if he had any tips for the United boss for dealing with the flak.
‘I don’t think he’d accept much advice from me! It’s the same as everyone’s got an opinion on the Welsh outside half, or Welsh rugby.
‘It’s like that at the minute with them, I don’t know why he bothers doing his job, he’s got 10 million people who can clearly do it better than him! God knows what’s going on there.’
Biggar evidently found the Fiji win frustrating, unable to fully release an attacking gameplan, and with a lot of chopping and changing this autumn with Covid and injuries disrupting plans, he and Wales have been unable to fully flourish.
But the suggestion that Biggar might not have been pleased last Saturday touched a nerve.
‘For the last 12 years I’ve played there’s always someone who can do a better job,’ he added.
‘I am not really sure what you want me to say or what you want to write or how this is going to be interpreted or fished out. Was I overly happy with how I played on Sunday, probably not. Could I have played better? Absolutely.
Wales face Australia on Saturday with 16 out injured, including captain Alun Wyn Jones (above)
‘Was I disappointed from a team point of view we could not be a bit more fluid? Yes. But I would review that game exactly the same as a game in which I had man-of-the-match in and had nine out of 10.
‘There is no different. For me it’s just another week. I am experienced enough to know if you play well you may have some plaudits, if you don’t play well people are going to come for you. That’s how it is.
‘My mood does not get affected, I will come in and do exactly the same regardless of whether I feel I played OK or not.’ A fired up Biggar is a good sign for Wales.
‘Everyone that has followed Dan knows that if he has a game that he’s not happy with, he generally has a very, very good response,’ coach Wayne Pivac said.
It must be remembered that Biggar was the key cog in ending the 13-Test Aussie hoodoo in 2018, kicking them to a 9-6 win, and then guided Wales expertly to a 29-23 victory at the 2019 World Cup.
On Saturday, if Wales were to end their autumn on a high, and consign the Wallabies to a zero-from-three tour up north after defeats to Scotland and England, he will be pivotal again.
This time Wales have 16 players out injured, although prop Tomas Francis and wing Josh Adams were passed fit on Friday, but with Biggar at No 10 they are right up for one last fight this autumn.
Team news: Wales v Australia
WALES: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, Tompkins, Halaholo, Adams; Biggar, T Williams; W Jones, Elias, Francis, Beard, S Davies, Jenkins (c), Basham, Wainwright (No 8).
Bench: Dee, G Thomas, Lewis, Carter, Tshiunza, G Davies, Priestland, McNicholl.
AUSTRALIA: Beale; Kellaway, Ikitau, Paisami, Daugunu; O’Connor, White; Slipper (c), Latu, Tupou, Arnold, Rodda, Leota, Samu, Valetini (No 8).
Bench: Faingaa, Bell, Alaalatoa, Skelton, Swinton, McDermott, Foketi, Wright.