DAN Biggar says Northampton won’t die wondering against Exeter in Sunday’s all-English Champions Cup quarter-final and admits it’s time the Saints got the better of the Chiefs.
The two sides have experienced contrasting fortunes since rugby returned from lockdown with Exeter runaway Premiership leaders and still on for a domestic and European double.
Biggar’s Saints have won just once since the restart and have fallen away badly, but only three points separated the two sides when they last met at the start of this month.
Still, Exeter hammered Chris Boyd’s men 57-7 at Sandy Park in February and were 42-12 home winners in last season’s Premiership play-off.
Asked if Northampton owe Exeter one, Biggar told The Rugby Paper: “Yes, exactly. They’re a very tough side. The game where we qualified to play them in a quarter-final seems like forever ago.
“We’re going to go down there and enjoy it. We’re not going to go down to Exeter and grind out a result.
“We’re going to have to play some rugby and test them out wide which is our game.
“We’ll see where we go from there. That’s what we’re going to do and it’s just great coming into the business end of the season that we’re right in the mix with a Champions Cup quarter-final.”
The congested nature of the Premiership schedule since rugby’s return has left players battered and bruised. It given teams no other choice than to rotate their squads.
Wales fly-half Biggar sat out Saints’ embarrassing seven-try hammering at Bristol, but will be a certain starter against Exeter with his men firm underdogs.
“There is always a concern and that bit of risk,” Biggar said, when asked on the issue of player welfare.
“The workload is pretty heavy there is no doubt about that, but we’ve built up a pretty decent squad here in the last 18 months. The same 15 can’t play every week and grind it out.
“Injuries are part and parcel of rugby.”
Biggar will soon turn his attention to international rugby with Wales after his country’s autumn schedule was confirmed. Wayne Pivac’s side will face France in a warm-up clash, then play their rearranged Six Nations clash with Scotland before meeting Ireland, Georgia, England and a team yet to be confirmed in the final round of the new Autumn Nations Cup.
The 83-capped Biggar said: “I was looking at the games which got cancelled as I’m trying to creep up towards 100 caps. I think a few other players are up there like George North and Leigh Halfpenny.
“I’m sure it will be in the back of their minds as well, but no one has any right to be given caps. You have to earn it and I’m going to try my best to stay in form.
“With the summer tour being cancelled it will be a very long time between the Six Nations ending and whenever we meet up next with Wales. It will be great to get back in amongst it.
“Wayne would have liked as much time with us as possible, but obviously that hasn’t worked out. I suppose it will be like hitting the reset button.
“When I came back into Northampton a lot of the boys had forgotten the calls. I suppose trying to rack your brain with Wales will be even more difficult!”