South Africa v Wales: Dan Biggar says he will not change captaincy style
|Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein Date: Saturday, 9 July Kick-off: 16:05 BST|
|Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales Extra – available via BBC Sounds, 882 MW and BBC Sport Online, Radio Cymru plus live text and match report on the BBC Sport website|
Dan Biggar says his captaincy style will not change as he prepares to lead Wales in Saturday’s second Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein.
Biggar captained Wales for the first time outside of the Six Nations in the 32-29 defeat in Pretoria.
“It was different to a Six Nations game,” said Biggar.
“It was a great place to captain and a Test match to be part of and my approach won’t change. What you see is what you get with me.”
Wales’ discipline cost them in the second Test – referee Nika Amashukeli showed four yellow cards and Wales were down to 12 men in the latter stages of the second half.
Biggar said: “With (referee) Angus Gardner this weekend, he’s been around the block a little bit and hopefully that will help.”
Asked how he managed his relationship with Amashukeli, Biggar said: “It wasn’t an issue for me.
“He probably didn’t quite like the niggle in the game. [Being] a bit more of an inexperienced ref, he probably wanted to control things a bit more from that point of view.
“But that’s what you want from Test matches. I really believe that. You want a real bit of edge, niggle and needle in the game. I thought it was perfect for both sides.
“From our point of view, we’ll try to control things a little bit better in that sense but I don’t think it was a huge issue.
“In that second half, things just got away from us a little bit in terms of our own discipline.
“We backed up quite a lot, which probably made things seem a little bit worse than what they were.”
Biggar’s captaincy style last weekend drew praise from former Wales centre Scott Gibbs, the British and Irish Lions player of the series against the Springboks in the 1997 tour success.
Gibbs described Biggar as “standing alone in world rugby with nobody having more passionate, application and dedication to his craft”, saying he “set the tone last Saturday, which is as every great leader should”.
Biggar, 32, kicked 14 point in Pretoria, including a brilliant first-half drop-goal when blood was pouring from his head.
He was one of the players shown a yellow card, for slowing the ball down, and at the forefront of trying to get underneath South Africa’s skin as he was involved in a second-half running battle with Cheslin Kolbe.
It proved a forgettable end as he missed a late conversion to give Wales the lead before giving away the match-winning penalty for a deliberate knock-on, a decision he labelled as “harsh” after the game.
Biggar said: “That kind of performance sort of sums me up really, in my career.
“I was disappointed to have not knocked the last conversion over but those things happen. I spoke to (Wales kicking coach) Neil Jenkins and there is no real stress or issue over it.
“I felt there was a real edge to my game and that’s when I feel like I’m where I need to be.
“I was happy with large parts of it. We scored three good tries and I felt like there was plenty of control to the game.
“We played in the right areas, got ourselves into a good lead. But ultimately, you’re just disappointed with the way that it ended.”
Biggar said he might have reacted to the result in a different manner at the start of his career.
“It would have been very different,” he said. “You’d have had to do this interview by the door of my hotel room because I’d probably not have left it yet.
“It is what it is. I’ve been lucky enough to knock some good ones over in my career and you’re going to miss the odd one or two.
“There is no stress and it’s just about making sure we go again this week and putting ourselves in a position to win it again.”
That was the post-match message to his side before the second Test.
“I just said it’s important we don’t go into our shells and we take a load of confidence,” said Biggar.
“We’re not very good at focusing on the positives in Wales, so I made the point about trying to do that and look at what we can improve.
“But I think this group needed to have that reinforced, that they can mix it with the absolute best, which South Africa are.
“We just talked about not getting drawn into what other people are going to write, have a really good week and build on it.
“Because it will mean nothing if we put in a sub-par performance this week and get blown away.
“It was very much about building and enjoying the week because we’re staying in an unbelievable place and a fabulous country.”
Biggar has said he does not believe South Africa have disrespected Wales or devalued the series by making 14 changes to their starting XV.
One of the new faces, prop Trevor Nyakane, has vowed the home pack want to be silent bullies and inflict pain on Wales.
Biggar smiled when reminded of these words.
“There are no real thoughts on that because that’s what you expect when you play against South Africa,” added the Northampton fly-half.
“When you play against any team that are perceived to perhaps not be first-choice players, they’re always going to want to represent and put their best foot forward when they know they’re a little bit down the pecking order.
“I believe there are players in that team where, if you were picking on form, you’d be pushed to find better ones.
“It will be a bit more of a difficult challenge than we faced last week. You look at (Handre) Pollard coming in at 10 – he’s got a wealth of experience, knows their game plan inside out and be able to guide his boys through it.
“They’ve got firepower to exploit if they can get on top up front. But our forwards were exceptional last week at mixing it up with them.
“I know we conceded a couple of driving maul tries, but on the whole, we fronted up to a pack which has steamrolled many a team in the last few years.”