Wednesday, June 29

Dan Biggar: Lions need to ‘fire more shots’ if they want to win Test 3 | British and Irish lions

TThe bigger the game, the more Dan Biggar likes it. Nor is there a need for anyone to tell you what the Lions must do if they are to win the all-important third event. “We are very aware that we have to shoot a few more shots than last weekend,” says the air medium whose tactical decisions will be fundamental to the result of the series.

However, as Biggar makes clear, that doesn’t mean ruling out every aspect of the Lions’ game plan and starting all over again. It means making more of the opportunities that arise and not allowing South Africa to dictate the pace of the game as it did last week. “It’s about making sure we’re a little bit more positive and taking a few more chances, but without going out, playing rugby to seven and inviting a pressure load.”

Given that Biggar threw a princely total of just three passes during his time on the field in the second test, “play more rugby” can be a relative concept in a suffocating series like this. But lurking on the bank this week is Finn Russell, specifically chosen for this tour to weave some occasional magic. As Biggar is honest enough to admit: “Finn offers something a little different to me and Owen [Farrell] in terms of keeping defenses guessing, ”the Scotsman can pick locks that he and Farrell can’t.

However, for the first 40 to 50 minutes, Biggar will take care of the toolbox. So far he has had a decent but not outstanding series and knows exactly where the Lions fell short in the second test. “We are very aware that we lost control of that match, probably in the second half when they strangled him. We’d like to think we can fire a few more shots and we’ve been preparing all week for that in terms of looking positive. That’s the plan for this weekend: really show what it’s all about. “

That said, after 13 punishing years of international rugby and 92 matches for Wales, the 31-year-old also appreciates how crucial dynamism and discipline are in facilitating the momentum of the baseline. As it happens, six of the Lions’ seven running backs for the final test (Ali Price being the exception) also started the game on the eve of the game against Japan at Murrayfield and, tactically, little has changed. “When you get to cup finals or big games like this, you rarely see a lot of champagne rugby. It’s about coming out on the right side of the scoreboard, however you do it. If I’m honest, we wouldn’t have given a monkey if we had come out on the right side of the scoreboard last weekend.

“We have been challenged this week about our area of ​​contact and how physical we can be. The discipline is also huge. Those two things have topped the list in terms of what we’ve been driving. Look at that first test: I think we gave them four lineouts and we conceded eight or nine penalties. Last Saturday we gave away 17 or 18 penalties and free throws that obviously also add up to a lot of lineouts ”.

And as the kickoff approaches, there will also be a completely natural desire to give Warren Gatland and Alun Wyn Jones a proper sendoff as they prepare to retire from the Lions gladiator arena after four largely successful tours each. . Biggar, however, knows both men very well and suspects that Jones, in particular, will have little time for such romantic niceties.

“If that was the talk between the group, then Al is the type that would crush him pretty quickly and make sure it’s about the team and winning on Saturday. That is far more important than anything else on it. This is how he has played his entire career. It’s really quite scary … going to 12 consecutive Lions events on the rebound, plus everything else he’s accomplished, is an effort. He deserves all the accolades he gets, but he’s a team man first and foremost. “

Gatland’s reputation is also assured: “His legacy is in his CV; that speaks a lot for itself, ”but Biggar admits that he and his teammates still need to etch themselves into the Lions legend. “Look at the great Lions, they have all been winners of the series. For us, it’s about making sure we try to add our names to that list. It has been eight difficult weeks, with Covid and without fans, family or friends authorized to leave. If we came back with a series win it would be worth it. “

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