British & Irish Lions flyhalf Dan Biggar has fired back at critics of the tourists’ approach against the Springboks, while also suggesting the South Africans should not be rebuked for their style of play.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Biggar said that although the Lions lost the series against South Africa some of the criticism the side has received has been unjustified. Biggar also reflected on having attained a personal goal in South Africa.
“From a purely selfish point of view, it was a huge aim of mine to become a Test Lion this summer, so I’m really pleased about that. To have become a series-winning Lion would have been really special, so to miss out on that hurts.
“But if I keep looking back on that it’s going to drag and drag through the season and I want to get back to focusing on playing well for Northampton and setting new goals.”
The Wales pivot’s new goals are as straightforward as they are impressive.
“I want to be successful with Northampton and I’m eight caps away from 100 with Wales, so that is a massive goal.”
Following the series loss the Lions touring party came under criticism from pundits and players alike with the consensus being that they had not employed the correct strategy against the Boks.
Biggar, however, has rubbished these claims and particularly hit back at Lions teammates Finn Russell and Ian Henderson, who were vocal in their critique after the tour.
“We all bought into it at the time, if they had such a strong opinion about it, maybe they could have voiced it at the time. I’ve never made a mistake watching a game back on a sofa. Hindsight is brilliant; you never make a mistake in life.
“I think the general consensus of the group was frustration and disappointment. That probably caused some lads to say that.
“But you’re always wise after the event, aren’t you? People are going to do interviews and give their opinions and they are entitled to them, but for me there was just frustration in the group that we couldn’t finish the job after going 1-0 up.”
Although the prevailing narrative has emerged that the Springboks are ‘ruining’ rugby with their pragmatic approach, Biggar is quick to point out that victory remains the ultimate metric of success in sport.
“Put it this way, I’d swap places with some of that South African team after the last couple of years they’ve had. I know people pay for tickets, they pay for their subscriptions and they have a view – rightly so.
“But it’s our job. We want to be successful rugby players. If someone said to me you could play the most boring brand of rugby and pick up a World Cup winner’s medal, I’d take that!
“I get that we’re in the entertainment business but, ultimately, if we don’t perform well and win, we won’t be offered contracts. Head coaches or directors of rugby will get the sack if they don’t win.”
With a century of Wales caps looming for Biggar, he reflected humorously on the competition for the Wales No 10 jersey
“I find it amusing that there are always about 10 guys in Wales who are seen as better than the incumbent in that shirt.
“We have a bit of a running joke in camp. The boys always say that [coaches] Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones are probably still ahead of me in the list and they’re not even current players!”