By Alex Bywater
One of the early benefits of Dan Biggar’s summer move to Northampton has been the ability to do his weekly shop and go almost unnoticed. It’s been a new and welcome experience.
After spending his entire professional career with the Ospreys and in the “goldfish bowl” that is Welsh rugby, Biggar has now begun a fresh chapter with the Saints.
The 28-year-old believes his move to the Gallagher Premiership has come at exactly the right time and he already feels at home at Franklin’s Gardens ahead of a pivotal season.
Biggar has plenty on his plate. He’s charged with leading Northampton’s revival under incoming head coach Chris Boyd as well guiding Wales at the World Cup, but the phlegmatic playmaker is relishing everything which is being thrown his way.
“It was difficult to leave the Ospreys. I’d been there for 11 years, but the transition has been seamless and I’ve really enjoyed my time in Northampton this summer,” Biggar said.
“We are living halfway between Oxford and Northampton, so we aren’t in the heart of the city. It means I can go shopping in Tesco and not have to run the gauntlet.
“I feel refreshed and in the nicest possible way, it feels nice to be out of Wales. I’ve played all my rugby in the goldfish bowl there and it’s been nice to be able to go under the radar a little bit.”
Biggar might be happy to peruse the supermarket aisles undetected, but this is a man who wants to stay the centre of attention when it comes to the action on the field.
Biggar is still able to represent his country despite playing outside Wales as he fulfils his country’s new selection criteria of having more than 60 international caps.
With Japan 2019 on the horizon, the playmaker hopes to stay firmly on Warren Gatland’s radar. Biggar is a man who will always retain a burning passion to represent his nation.
“The World Cup is a huge, huge aim for me. I’ve said all along playing for Wales is the biggest thing in my career and I put it above playing for the Lions.
“I say that because it is what I always dreamt of doing growing up. Who knows what is going to happen between now and next September, there is a lot of rugby to be played.
“There will be a lot of people who will miss out through injury, but I still think Welsh rugby is in a really good spot.”
Biggar and all but two of his Welsh Lions contemporaries sat out the summer tour clash with South Africa and two-Test series with Argentina to rest with the World Cup mind.
In that time, Rhys Patchell and Gareth Anscombe have staked their claim for the Wales fly-half jersey. Biggar’s competitive edge knows no bounds, but he is positive about the rivalry.
“We are the type of nation where if we say we have selection problems, we see it as a negative. It’s the old ‘glass half empty’ syndrome,” Biggar said.
“We should embrace it and think about what a good squad we could have rather than pointing out any negatives. Let’s hope we can go into the World Cup and realise the strength we’ve got as a national team. There is quality everywhere you look.
“I hope it’s not going to be a question of out of sight and out of mind with me playing at Northampton. I’ve got enough caps to qualify to play for Wales and in my opinion there is no difference to me playing for a Welsh region.
“I am an all or nothing person who likes to win and everyone would have been disappointed with how things went at Northampton last season, but I realise I am a new kid on the block.
“We have got to make sure we don’t set our sights ridiculously high and we know it is going to be a gradual progress here.”
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