Wales fly-half Biggar 'a bit lucky' to make Lions squad
Fly-half Dan Biggar is targeting a Test start for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand, despite saying he was “a little bit lucky” to make the squad.
Biggar, 27, was one of 12 Welsh players named in Warren Gatland’s 41-man party for this summer’s tour.
The Osprey will compete with Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell of England for a Test starting spot at 10.
“Realistically I’ve got a little bit of catching up to do in terms of looking for a Test spot,” said Biggar.
He continued: “But I’m not going on the tour to clap everyone on and sit on the bench and play midweek.
“Ultimately my goal is to play in the Tests and, if I can play with these players, make an impression and put a marker down then hopefully that will push the other guys.
“But there is huge competition. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, but it’s exciting and I’m going to push everyone as hard as I can.”
Biggar faced formidable competition for his Lions place, with England fly-half George Ford among the high-profile omissions in Gatland’s squad.
The 56-cap Wales player has impressed on the international stage in recent years, establishing himself as his country’s first-choice 10.
After a difficult few weeks of injury and indifferent form for the Ospreys, however, Biggar felt his Lions selection was in the balance.
“If I am being brutally honest, which I like to pride myself on, I think over the last two years my form has been as good as it’s probably been in my career,” he said.
“I probably haven’t produced that high level [in recent weeks] I produced a couple of years ago so I’m a bit fortunate. Probably a little bit lucky to get on the plane.
“But I’m going to grab it with both hands and hopefully, playing with the world class players there, I can get back to producing some of my best rugby. I’ve been really fortunate, but I’m going to take it with both hands.”
Although Biggar is eager to stake his claim for a starting place in the Lions’ team for the first Test against New Zealand in June, he is also looking forward to sampling the famed camaraderie of the touring party.
This will be Biggar’s first taste of representing the Lions, and he is relishing the prospect.
“I’m excited to be a part of it and not just those two [Sexton and Farrell], but the chance to learn off other people and their experiences,” he added.
“It sounds a bit lame, but just to make a few new friends, in terms of getting to know them. You play against them every year in the Six Nations and you want to beat the hell out of them for 80 minutes so it will be nice to be on the same team and chat rugby and make friends.
“The boys said four years ago they made really good friendships with people they are still in contact with. Excited is the word and hopefully it will go well.”
Continuing good form
After a fine showing in the Six Nations and some good form for his region this season, Lions backs coach Rob Howley says Biggar could give them an edge against New Zealand.
“Dan has played particularly well in the [Six Nations] Championship and I think he was outstanding against England,” Howley said.
“When you look at the half-backs Wales, Ireland and England have and in terms of the schedule you’ve got running into our prep, I think when you play together you’ve got a natural combination.
“I think that gives you an edge in selection and I think he’ll get on that plane believing, like everyone will believe, that he can be number one in the Test series.”