Wales ‘lucky’ to call on Biggar

Date published: September 17 2015

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins has backed the side to cope without Leigh Halfpenny's goalkicking with Dan Biggar stepping up.

The Ospreys fly-half will take over the kicking duties and is rated highly by Jenkins ahead of this weekend's opener against Uruguay.

"We have lost one of the best in Leigh Halfpenny but there is not much between him and Dan Biggar," said Jenkins.

"Leigh took over the kicking four years ago and deserves his place as one of the best in the world, if not the best. But Dan is incredibly close if not on a par with him."

"We are very lucky in that regard to have someone like Dan to come in and be able to do the job that he does with the Ospreys, week in, week out."

Asked about the differenc between the two players' styles, Jenkins stated that the gap in quality is smaller than people realise.

"'Biggs' would be comfortable around halfway on any given day and Leigh would be that fraction further. But with adrenaline and conditions and the magnitude of the game, anything can happen.

"I am sure Dan would back himself against Leigh in terms of distance. They certainly enjoy a good battle. He is a world-class kicker and if it is out of his distance we won't worry about that.

"It's simple because we will go for the corner and try and score from there. You have the World Cup balls, too, to take into account. They are pretty new and not something we are used to. But we can adapt to that and we have been in enough World Cups to realise what the situation is.

"The balls have been going pretty good in training and I am quite happy with them at the moment. We have had our balls for just over for the last 10 days."

Biggar emerged as Wales' number one fly-half last season and Jenkins was full of praise for the way he has improved his game.

"Throughout his career he has matured greatly and the last couple of years he has been outstanding for us. He has led the team incredibly well and he is a navigator who has been playing exceptional rugby himself.

"He has matured into a world-class number 10 and that shows in the way he is performing and the way he conducts himself on the pitch. Any 10 in any side is generally the leader and who the players look to. He has certainly given us that."

"He knows the patterns inside out and the way we want to play the game and he understands the game."

"He has an outstanding kicking game and the balance to his play with his defence and aerial skills are superb. There is not many things Biggs can't do and he has plenty to say as well which is good."

"He has learned to control his emotions and when he is right on edge, he is able to make the right decisions and lead the team and put them in the right positions. Some 10s in the past like myself would lose the plot. Dan doesn't do that and is in control of every game. His all-round game is superb."