Wales v Argentina: Dan Biggar on playing 10 and not being Wayne Rooney

Dan Biggar
Dan Biggar made his debut for Wales against Canada in 2008
Wales Under Armour Test series - Wales v Argentina
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 12 November Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live BBC television and radio commentary; also on the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentaries

Dan Biggar cannot resist a joke when he is asked if he enjoys the pressure of playing fly-half for Wales.

"I wish I played second row," he quips, before admitting he is glad he is not England football captain Wayne Rooney.

"It is what it is. Win and your number 10 never gets any of the credit. When you lose, it's all the 10's fault.

"I wouldn't change it for the world, I love playing number 10 for Wales and, I suppose, the pressure that comes with it.

"Imagine being someone like Wayne Rooney over the last three months and the press, their treatment of one of England's better players. If I think I'm having a tough time, I just look at him. The criticism doesn't bother me one bit."

The pressure will be sky-high when Biggar makes his 50th appearance in the most scrutinised and analysed shirt in Welsh rugby against Argentina.

Wales have lost their last five Test matches and there was little to redeem their 32-8 thrashing by Australia in the opening autumn international.

It is a result which has seen centre Jamie Roberts dropped to the bench after making 79 consecutive starts for his country.

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Sam Warburton has no problems playing for captain Gethin Jenkins

Coach Rob Howley has made six changes in all, but Biggar is one of nine players to keep his place in the starting line-up.

One alteration on the bench has seen Sam Davies, who was selected for Ospreys ahead of Biggar for a big match against Cardiff Blues earlier this season, drop out of the 23-man squad in favour of Gareth Anscombe.

From hero to...

It's barely 14 months since Biggar was the hero of Wales' 28-25 win over England in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

It seems extraordinary to people outside Wales that Biggar could be under so much pressure.

But this is Wales and he plays fly-half in the country that has produced Cliff Morgan, Barry John, Phil Bennett and Jonathan Davies. It is a position scrutinised like no other. Think chefs in France or rally drivers in Scandinavia.

Biggar has the confidence to handle that scrutiny.

"There are people who offer their opinion and say you could have done this or that better but that's part and parcel of it, especially being in Wales," he says.

"The boys outside of Wales sometimes don't get that sort of thing.

Dan Biggar and Sam Davies
Sam Davies (right) made his Wales debut off the bench against Australia

"Living and playing in Wales can be very much a goldfish bowl. Sometimes it can be nice to be outside of that and get on with you day-to-day life.

"I don't take any notice of the criticism and everyone wants Wales to do well and get better. Ultimately the number 10 position is a key to that.

"Ultimately as a team, we want to prove a few people wrong on Saturday. It's not about me, it's not about number 10 but about us as a collective, as a team.

"Getting 50 caps is a nice milestone, but it will soon be forgotten if we don't get a result and put in a decent performance."

Competition for places

Having been understudy to Rhys Priestland early in his career, Biggar knows what it is like to be on the outside looking in and understands his place cannot be taken for granted.

"It's the coaches' opinion which is the most important to me," he adds.

"We have got lots of good options in Wales with Sam Davies, Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Priestland playing well for Bath.

Jamie Roberts and Dan Biggar
Jamie Roberts has started in his last 79 games for Wales - stretching back to 2009

"I'm just the lucky one in position at the minute but if my form doesn't meet the coaches' standards, I'm sure they will be other options."

Roberts will return

Roberts' demotion to the bench is proof of that theory. Reputation and an impressive record are not enough to guarantee selection.

"Jamie has been superb and Scott Williams is playing well, he continues.

"It won't be a huge change for us, we know our structures are in place. And I'm sure you haven't seen the end of Jamie Roberts. He's had a brilliant career and there's plenty more in him. It's exciting times."

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