'Hopefully people will remember me for being passionate'
REACTION: Dan Biggar ended his stellar career with Wales in a disappointing defeat by Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal, but the Toulon flyhalf believes the future is bright for the Welsh game.
Biggar’s 112th Test appearance in the red jersey saw Wales go down 27-19 to Argentina on Saturday, leaving the playmaker described by Wales coach Warren Gatland as a “great servant” feeling a mix of “frustration and disappointment”.
“You know sometimes when you’re absolutely hands-down beaten, you can hold your hands up and let it slide a little bit but we felt like we had control of that game, certainly for large periods of that first half,” Biggar said.
“But fair play to Argentina, they hung on in there and turned the game into a bit of a brawl really, which probably suited them a bit more than it did us.”
While Biggar steps away from the international stage, he will continue at club level in the Top 14 with Toulon, but admitted he would miss the passion of being involved in the Wales set-up.
“Yeah, that’s been my character from day one really. Hopefully people will remember me for being passionate and caring about every moment. I am going to miss it,” said the 33-year-old, who leaves as Wales’ fourth-highest Test points scorer with 633 points and also fourth on the list of their most-capped players.
“I didn’t think I would be particularly emotional, I almost thought I would be relieved, but there’s definitely a bit of sadness. I’m definitely going to miss it in the months and years to come.
“It’ll be raw for a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks. But when I reflect back on my career, hopefully I’ll be fairly pleased with what I’ve done.”
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Heart on his sleeve
Biggar, who played at Ospreys and Northampton before heading to southeast France, insisted that the future of Welsh rugby was “100 percent” bright without him.
“They’ve been a vital part of the success, or redemption, of this team,” he said of the younger players coming through, led by co-captains Jac Morgan, 23, and Dewi Lake, 24.
Wales came into this World Cup with many predicting they would struggle to emerge from their group.
“If you’d offered this five months ago, we’d have snapped your hand off. But as we stand here, we’re pretty disappointed. This young group have driven standards and pushed us to keep going.
“I’ve got no doubt they will achieve some really good things if they keep the squad together and allow boys like Sam Costelow some time in that 10 seat and allow him to drive it and make it his team.”
Costelow was unfortunate enough to be in the first receiver position when his pass was picked off by Argentina veteran Nicolas Sanchez for an intercept try that effectively ended the game as a contest.
“I said that to him at the end: ‘Just enjoy making this team your own now for the next few years’. Hopefully, that will come through,” Biggar said.
Lake said it was tough to lose a figure like Biggar, who also won three caps for the British and Irish Lions.
“‘Biggs’ has given his time to Welsh rugby. He’s a centurion, a [British and Irish] Lions tourist, a leader,” the hooker said.
“He has been unbelievable in a Wales jersey and a Lions jersey. He takes hits like no 10 I’ve seen in world rugby. In terms of his leadership and speaking after the game, we will miss him and I think he will miss us as well.
“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for Welsh rugby.”
Gatland said he had enjoyed seeing Biggar grow into the player he had become.
“He has had some incredible highs and some lows as well. When I remember him as a youngster coming in and the way he has matured and developed as a player, it’s been pretty special,” the New Zealander said.
“He really wants to win, he wears his heart on his sleeve and that is one of the big accolades that he has brought to this team over the years.”