Biggar offers no apologies for 'abrasive' Wales display in defeat to Springboks

By Sports Desk July 02, 2022

Dan Biggar was bemused by criticism of Wales' approach to their first Test in South Africa, wondering if they were expected to "just roll the carpet out".

Wales came agonisingly close to a famous win in Pretoria, ultimately going down 32-29 following four costly yellow cards – including one for Biggar.

After playing a brief period with 12 men, Wales had 13 on the pitch when an unlikely try gave Biggar a conversion that would have secured an improbable late lead.

Instead, he missed the posts and was then punished for a knock-on at the other end, allowing Damian Willemse to settle the match from the tee.

There would have undoubtedly been some relief in the Springboks camp as they were ultimately able to celebrate following their first home game in front of a crowd since winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Trailing 18-3 at half-time, South Africa captain Siya Kolisi acknowledged afterwards: "They [Wales] got under our skin."

There were multiple confrontations between the two sets of players off the ball, and Kolisi added his team "did a couple of things out of character".

When Biggar subsequently faced the media, he could not understand why Wales were expected to shoulder the blame for incidents of this nature.

"I don't know what the referee expected us to do," he said. "Just come here, lie down and give South Africa everything their own way?

"From our point of view, we wanted to try to get in their faces, get in their faces and not take a backwards step. That's part of the game.

"We were coming here, and if you stand off South Africa out here, then you'll get steam-rolled pretty quickly. You need some aggression and competitiveness and get into it.

"I didn't see any issue. They were just as niggly, competitive and as abrasive as we were. From our point of view, that was perfect for us.

"The decisions will be analysed. But from our point of view, I don't understand why people are bothered about it.

"It's a Test match, and we're away from home against the world champions. I'm not quite sure what people expected from us, just roll the carpet out and applaud them off the pitch?

"I don't know what the issue is. It's a Test match and we were more than happy to get stuck into them. That's what Test matches are about.

"I really don't understand. I see it as a non-event. That's exactly what you want from a Test match; you want it confrontational, you want it aggressive.

"There was no dirty play or anything. We just went at it and got confrontational. It worked for us, certainly in the first half.

"I've got no issue whatsoever. Whatever happens on the field, you shake hands afterwards, and there is absolutely zero issue."

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