Rugby World Cup 2023: Dan Biggar marks tough day with 'special' Wales win against Fiji

Dan Biggar is Wales' fourth most capped player
Dan Biggar is Wales' fourth most capped player

Rugby World Cup 2023: Wales v Portugal

Venue: Stade de Nice, Nice Date: Saturday, 16 Sept Kick-off: 16:45 BST

Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website & app; live text commentary on BBC Sport website & app.

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar has reflected on a special day after producing a man-of-the-match performance in Sunday's opening World Cup victory over Fiji.

The Bordeaux match marked the birthday of his mother Liz who died in 2021.

"It was not so much during the match, but I found it difficult because she would have been here making a big weekend of it," said Biggar.

"I suppose it was extra special and at the back of my mind because for me personally it was a really tough day."

Biggar, 33, kicked 12 points before walking gingerly off the field after 65 minutes. The Toulon fly-half, who will retire from international rugby at the end of the campaign, has been suffering from a back injury, but insists there is no long-term damage.

"It was probably something I needed to focus and take my mind off it a little bit... it was pretty tough," said Biggar.

Warren Gatland and Dan Biggar with the Prince of Wales in the changing room after victory over Fiji in Bordeaux
Warren Gatland and Dan Biggar with the Prince of Wales in the changing room after victory over Fiji in Bordeaux

"I've had a little bit of a back issue for the last few weeks and just strained that a bit under a fair bit of fatigue.

"Hopefully with a quiet couple of days, I will pull up for training at the end part of the week."

Wales led 32-14 in Bordeaux when Biggar left the field before Fiji almost snatched a dramatic victory with a late fightback.

Warren Gatland's side made more than 250 tackles as they held on for a thrilling 32-26 win that strengthened hopes of reaching a fourth successive World Cup quarter-final.

"It was stressful," admitted Biggar.

"I thought we were home and relatively comfortable, but we tend to make things hard.

"We said after the game it's World Cup rugby and the only thing that mattered was the result.

"Everyone had been talking about this game from a Welsh point of view for a long time.

"There has been a lot of pressure on this group and a lot of things written. People said we weren't good enough to win, Fiji were favourites.

"We were nowhere near perfect, but you saw the character, desire and commitment of the group. We never gave in, scrapped for everything and that's what this team is about. It was brilliant we were able to grind it out."

Biggar has revealed England's stirring victory over Argentina helped underpin Wales' mindset as they dug deep in adversity.

England's demolition job on the Pumas 24 hours earlier, which came despite them having flanker Tom Curry sent off during the early minutes, did not go unnoticed in the Wales camp.

"England were absolutely magnificent after going down to 14 men," said Biggar.

"It was almost like the red card was better for England than Argentina, it galvanised them and they absolutely worked their socks off.

"It was good for us watching that game as a team. We spoke about having a similar mindset, whether we lose a player or go down a bit, still working your socks off."

Difference of opinions

Biggar demonstrated his trademark emotional side, on a couple of occasions he shouted at long-time team-mate and fellow 100-cap international George North for trying to run out of defence.

Wales coach Gatland says he had no issues with such confrontations and Biggar insists they had a joke about in the changing room afterwards.

"We've played enough together now and I'll make zero apologies for that," said Biggar.

"I think I must have told everyone the same thing at some point including myself to be honest!

"We've grown a little bit in that department as a team, to not so much enjoy confrontation, but embrace it for what it is.

"We have to set standards and be accountable and I hope that brings good parts out of people as well as myself.

"Sometimes I need it to vent a little bit as well! That's certainly not the first and it probably won't be my last before my time is up."

Wales' win against Fiji has seen them rise two places to eighth in World Rugby's rankings.

Wales have travelled to Nice to face Portugal next Saturday before further group games against Australia in Lyon on 24 September and Georgia in Nantes 13 days later.

The Wales fly-half insists his squad must not relax in the beautiful surroundings of the Cote d'Azur where Biggar now resides close by, having joined Toulon in 2022.

"It's important we focus this week, especially going to a very nice place in Nice, which can turn into a bit of a holiday mode and that's the exact opposite of what we need," said Biggar.

"We probably need a fair bit of work on the training pitch and back that Fiji result up against Portugal, which is going to be a difficult game.

"We're off to a good start. If we win next weekend, it will become a really good start and we can build towards the final two games."