By David Roberts
Dan Biggar has been branded “world class” by his club coach Chris Boyd.
The Northampton Saints director of rugby, who guided Beauden Barrett’s Hurricanes to the Super Rugby title in 2016, reckons the Wales No. 10 is “as good as anyone I’ve ever coached.”
Boyd has highlighted the exemplary attitude of the 30-year-old Biggar, who will be looking to add to his 83 Welsh caps when rugby returns from lockdown.
“He’s a tough rooster, there’s no doubt about that. Whatever word you use, whether it’s grit, mental toughness or resilience, guys like Dan just do not go away,” said Boyd in an interview with The Rugby Paper.
Biggar moved to the Saints in 2018 after making more than 200 appearances for his home region, the Ospreys. He has become one of the leading lights at Franklin’s Gardens.
“If you watch the documentary of Michael Jordan that’s going around, he was an incredibly hard taskmaster for the guys at Chicago Bulls when they decided they wanted to be the best in the NBA,” added Boyd.
“Michael led that and you see exactly the same with Dan who, along with Alun Wyn Jones, has done a wonderful job of making Wales successful over a long period since he’s dominated the No. 10 jersey. He’s world class.”
When Biggar gets back to full training at Northampton he will set about the task of preparing himself for the battle with fit again Gareth Anscombe to convince Wayne Pivac to pick him to start for Wales.
Anscombe was first choice during the 2019 Grand Slam campaign under Warren Gatland, but Biggar nevertheless remained a vital figure who then returned for the World Cup in Japan.
Boyd’s side were fourth in the Premiership table when the season was halted due to Covid-19 and on course to at least match their play-off place from the previous season.
One of his big plans is to produce more home-grown players, but he fully recognises the impact that players of the calibre of Biggar can make.
“We divide our squad into cells and assign a coach to each. For example, Sam Vesty runs the No. 9s and No. 10s group and they’ll regularly look at a game from elsewhere – Super Rugby, Test Rugby and the Premiership or wherever – and pull it to bits,” added Boyd.
“Dan is included in this group along with a couple of boys who are still at school and won’t join our academy until next season.
“The cross-pollination and learning from that is immense because you can have a kid who’s 17 sitting in a meeting with Cobus Reinach and Dan discussing strategies.
“These are wonderful development opportunities for young guys to give them a bit of self-confidence and help in understanding what’s required. We do it unashamedly to help our youngsters integrate and its’ a really good process.”