Dan Biggar: 'Test yourself' by leaving Wales, advises Test fly-half
Dan Biggar has urged more Welsh players to “test themselves” outside Wales.
The Wales fly-half left Ospreys for Northampton at the end of 2017-18 and says leaving the ‘goldfish bowl’ in his homeland has been ‘great’.
The 28-year-old added: “It’s been a really good start and I think I’d advise a lot more players to sort of test themselves outside Wales as well because Wales is such a goldfish bowl.”
Biggar can still play for Wales because he has won more than 60 caps.
However, his former Ospreys and Wales half-back partner Rhys Webb is ruled out of Wales honours until – and if – he returns to his homeland from Toulon.
Webb, whose career has been disrupted by injury, has won only 33 caps, but at 29 years old, his Wales career is at least on hold.
After helping Saints beat his former team Ospreys in a pre-season friendly, Biggar said individuals must set their own priorities.
He told BBC Sport Wales: “My situation is I’ve got enough caps to play outside Wales and be considered for selection.
“Boys have got to decide what’s more important to them, but for me, I’ve really enjoyed taking that plunge outside Wales.
“I had 11 great years here [Ospreys], but I think the time was right for me to move and it couldn’t have worked out any better in terms of how everyone’s welcomed me; the club has been brilliant, the boys have been brilliant.
“I’ve really enjoyed the two months I’ve been here so far and I’m looking forward to sharing the next couple of years.”
North ‘reinforced’ Biggar’s choice
As Biggar moved to Northampton, Wales and Lions wing George North went the other way.
Biggar says a “brief” chat with North reinforced his belief he had made the right choice in joining the English top-flight club.
“George said it’s a really good group of boys, a hard-working group and a rugby mad sort of town,” he said.
“George had been up here for five years and people forget that. It’s a long time to be away from home at a young age, I suppose.
“So George made the decision to come back to Wales and my side of it was different because I’d been in Wales for 11 years so it was nice to go the other way.
“George couldn’t have said anything more positive about the place and that just reinforced the decision I’d made.”
Biggar’s tribute to Edwards
North and Biggar’s Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards will also be on the move, but in his case moving back to rugby league to take over at Wigan after the 2019 rugby union World Cup in Japan.
“It’s a massive blow to Welsh rugby and the person coming in to replace him is going to have very, very big shoes to fill,” Biggar said.
“Sean knows what the boys think of him. Everyone knows he’s nuts, but what he does, he gets the best out of people and what he’s done for Welsh rugby is remarkable, really.
“He deserves all the credit he’s getting. He’s always wanted to be a number one and the position for Wigan came up and I wish him all the best because he’s as good a bloke as there is out there. He’s been brilliant for us.”