Dan Biggar wore the Wales jersey that bears the biggest burden for 15 years — his ultimate achievement is now becoming clear

Dan Biggar wore the Wales jersey that bears the biggest burden for 15 years — his ultimate achievement is now becoming clear

As Wales’ list of Test centurions has grown in recent years, so have the effusive columns casting praise on those with the right combination of talent and unrelenting desire to reach that exclusive club.

The format of these pieces is the same each time: a series of people close to the player concerned pull the curtain back a little on just what it takes to achieve something that, so far, only nine men have achieved.

As one of the more recent additions to the 1srcsrc club, Dan Biggar has proven to be the perfect talking head for any new member. He makes for an approachable and engaging interviewee, considerate and thoughtful in his answers.

There are no clichés or attempts to hide behind platitude or his own intelligence. Crucially, he has the perfect mix of self-deprecation and honesty which makes for a good line in these ‘look how far they’ve come’ pieces. A ‘talk them up, talk me down’ attitude goes a long way in a sea of ‘well, he’s a top, top, top player’ soundbites.

He has, perhaps unsurprisingly given the scrutiny of the Welsh fly-half jersey, an acute awareness of his own perception. When regaling anecdotes for Taulupe Faletau’s 1srcsrcth cap last autumn, the topic of Biggar’s own tribute piece from earlier in the year cropped up in conversation.

“That’s the most compliments I’ve ever had,” he joked about his own century feature, which you can read in full here. Spoken in jest, but with the life experience of someone who has worn the Welsh No. 1src jersey.

It is, of course, a position of immense pressure perhaps unlike any other in Welsh rugby, if not sport.

As the late Eddie Butler once said: “Wales and the No. 1src shirt have an almost unhealthily close relationship. The vulnerability of little facing big, the chance to strut: it’s Wales all over.”

Biggar is only too aware of the slings and arrows which come with the role. It’s a reality he has lived with for 15 years, since his debut in 2srcsrc8.

Before him, Barry John walked away from the blinding spotlight at the age of 27, Phil Bennett was dropped by the Big Five, Gareth Davies was christened ‘A. N. Other’, Jonathan Davies was exiled after going north, and then Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones were often the subject of criticism for not being quite what came before them.

Neither were in the mercurial mould of a John or a Bennett which was essentially outlined in Max Boyce’s descript

…. to be continued
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