Biggar's not so Saintly move
TRANSFER NEWS: Northampton Saints confirmed that veteran flyhalf Dan Biggar will leave the club at the end of the 2022/23 season.
The 32-year-old No.10 has pulled on the Black, Green and Gold jersey 68 times to date, starting every game he has been involved in for Northampton and scoring 605 points so far.
Biggar made the switch to Saints from the Ospreys ahead of the 2018/19 campaign and has made a big impact at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens – guiding the club to two top-four finishes in the Premiership in four seasons, and using over a decade’s worth of international experience to help develop Northampton’s young squad.
“Dan’s quality as a player is obvious; he’s a British & Irish Lion, a 100-cap Wales international, a leader who cares about the team,” said Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson.
“He loves pressure, and he loves to compete.
“His attitude is also exemplary.
“We could see that from when he first arrived and won the Blakiston Challenge – an event he easily could have skipped or coasted as a senior player – but he pushed himself as hard as he could which speaks volumes about his character.
“When he came to Saints back in 2018, we were a club in transition and there was a lot of expectation on him. He has been a major part of the rebuild of the team.
“We’re now at a point where we believe we should be competing at the business end of major competitions, with a number of leaders within the squad who were just coming through when Dan arrived.
“The likes of Lewis Ludlam, George Furbank, Alex Mitchell, Alex Coles and Fraser Dingwall have all captained the side in recent times and are now very important leaders for us, but they have all leaned on and learnt from Biggs – who is top class in training and generous with his time. So, when we are successful and win a major trophy, Dan’s fingerprints will be all over that.
“It has been well documented that for this season and next, the salary cap for Premiership clubs is lower than it was previously.
“There is also a reduction in marquee players from two to one, which presents an additional challenge in building a balanced and competitive squad. We have to start putting a longer-term plan for the team in place, so these are all factors we have considered in making this decision.
“Dan is a good man and he won’t be short of offers for next season and beyond. We wish him, and his family, the very best for whichever opportunity he chooses to pursue.”
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During his time at Saints, Biggar has also thrived on the international stage, bringing up his 100th Wales cap during the 2022 Six Nations having been named his country’s captain for the first time early in the new year.
As a Northampton player, the flyhalf helped steer Wales to a Grand Slam win in 2019 and another Six Nations title in 2021 – a year in which he then also starred for the British & Irish Lions, starting all three Tests against South Africa on what was his second tour with the squad.
Biggar still has eight months remaining as a Saint and is firmly focused on helping Northampton claim the Premiership title which has so far eluded them during his time at the club.
Biggar said: “I have loved my time at Northampton Saints, a traditional rugby club which is full of great people from top to bottom. It has been a privilege to wear the Black, Green and Gold jersey.
“I wish I could have played more for the club – I missed a few matches over the last few years due to my international commitments, but there isn’t a better place to play rugby than Franklin’s Gardens in front of an incredible group of supporters.
“I have made new friendships that will last forever, and it has been a pleasure to watch the young crop of Academy guys mature and develop into first-team senior pros. There are too many brilliant people here to mention, but I hope we can all finish the season in spectacular fashion as we did last year, and go a couple of steps further!
“A special thank you has to go to Boydy [Chris Boyd]. I can’t thank him enough for the way that he treated me, and gave me so many opportunities to represent this club.
“Saints will always be very special to me – and that includes the club’s magnificent supporters, who have welcomed me in and supported me wholeheartedly through both the highs and lows. It really has been a privilege to play for your club.
“Northampton will be the first result I look for on a Saturday afternoon moving forward! I hope that in the future I can come back, see lots of familiar faces and enjoy the Gardens as a fan as much as I did a player. Thank you for everything.”