Lions 2017: Dan Biggar ahead of Johnny Sexton, says Keith Wood

Dan Biggar attempts to charge down a Johnny Sexton kick
Dan Biggar missed out on the 2013 Lions tour when Johnny Sexton was first choice Test fly-half

Dan Biggar is in prime position to be the British and Irish Lions' fly-half on their 2017 tour of New Zealand, says former Ireland captain Keith Wood.

Wood was critical of Wales head coach Warren Gatland's selection and playing style as he led the Lions to their 2013 series victory in Australia.

Former hooker Wood believes Wales' Biggar is in better form than his main rival, Ireland's Johnny Sexton.

"He's playing far better rugby than Jonathan Sexton in my view," said Wood.

"He's playing more consistently. He's brave, he kicks well, he runs well, he tackles well, he chases his own kicks.

"I would say he's more the form 10 than Johnny Sexton is at the moment."

'Made of steel'

Biggar and Sexton faced each other last Friday, as Sexton's Leinster side won away against Ospreys in the Pro12.

That duel was billed as a battle between two of the world's best fly-halves, and the two have been tipped as leading candidates to be included in the Lions' squad.

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"It's been a while since we've had a lot of outside-halves [of this quality]," Wood added.

"Johnny's had a hard time since he came back from Paris [Racing 92]. He's picked up a fair few knocks and injuries and he's trying to play himself back into form.

"He is getting better which is great for him and it's good for Ireland and Leinster.

"But I like watching Biggar play. He's a really good player. That guy is made of steel."

The O'Driscoll controversy

The Lions will travel to New Zealand in 2017 aiming for back-to-back series wins for the first time since 1974.

Their 2-1 triumph over Australia in 2013 was controversial, however, as head coach Gatland dropped legendary Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll for the pivotal third Test.

Johnny Sexton celebrates scoring a try for the Lions in 2013
Johnny Sexton scored the Lions' second try in their 41-16 win over Australia in 2013

His decision paid off handsomely as 10 Wales players - including O'Driscoll's replacement, Jonathan Davies - contributed to a 41-16 thrashing of the Wallabies.

Gatland said he was shocked by the "vitriolic" criticism he received for dropping O'Driscoll, though Wood maintains his former team-mate should have been selected.

"It's the best of four teams. The point I criticised was Brian O'Driscoll and people said it was an anti-Welsh view, which it absolutely, patently wasn't," he said.

"I didn't like the fact Brian was put out in front of the press on the Tuesday [before the Test] - that only ever happens when you're playing in the team.

"It was the end of the career and I don't have that sentimentality - I felt the Lions were better with him in the squad.

"Without being negative, parts of it I just didn't like.

"It was functional and it was successful and I've long since made a point of not criticising success - but the Lions is an amalgamation of the four teams, bringing what they all have together.

"The Lions have to win. I want the Lions to be that amalgamation and it becomes harder for that to be successful, but I do feel that is the nature of it."

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