Sports News

Six Nations 2020: Wales aim to make life ‘uncomfortable’ for Sexton

Dan Biggar tackles Johnny Sexton during Wales’ 25-7 Six Nations win over Ireland in March 2019 to clinch the Grand Slam
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 8 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Five, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru plus the BBC Sport website & app.

Fly-half Dan Biggar says his side aim to make life “uncomfortable” for opposite number Jonathan Sexton in Dublin.

New captain Sexton scored all of Ireland’s points in the 19-12 win over Scotland in the opening round.

“I suppose it is up to us on Saturday to try and make life as uncomfortable for him as possible,” said Biggar.

“If we give him a free ride and let him dictate play, we have seen over the years how good a player Johnny is.”

Biggar insists his comments are a compliment for a player he has battled against for the last decade and toured with on the British and Irish Lions trip to New Zealand in 2017.

Sexton, 34, will play his 96th Test for Ireland and the Lions while Biggar, 30, will make his 81st Wales Test appearance.

Biggar and Sexton have started six international games against each other at 10 with three victories for Wales, two wins for Ireland and a draw.

“He has been almost Ireland’s best player for the last 10 to 12 years,” said Biggar.

“You tend to know people’s game better when you play against them so many times and in an Ireland shirt we have faced each other tons of times.

‘I just flicked it and hoped for the best’ – Dan Biggar

“It is great to play against Johnny and he is one of the best blokes around that you will meet.

“He knows their game inside out and will be driving them around the field.

“We need to try and force some errors out of him but Johnny has been around the block long enough to know that any side playing Leinster or Ireland are going to try and make him make mistakes.

“He has done OK over his career so far and I am sure he will be fine. but that is our plan, make life difficult for nine and 10, and that starts with stopping momentum.

“You know he is going to be abrasive, play flat to the line and look to control things through his kicking game. I am sure it will be great headlines writing about Johnny, but it is about which team can stop the momentum for the other team’s backs.

“With the weather as well, it looks as though it is going to be even more of an arm-wrestle.”

Biggar and Sexton are both known to be vocal on the field and French referee Romain Poite will be dealing with the two fly-halves on Saturday.

“I’d say we probably give each other a run for their money!” said Biggar.

“We tend to always have a bit of a laugh and a joke in terms of that. I think whoever is reffing the game on Saturday must be pulling their hair out.

“It is all in good jest with Johnny. We will be focused on making sure we do our jobs rather than anything else.”

Kicking role

Dan Biggar in kicking practice at Aviva Stadium a day before Wales face Ireland. He has scored 405 Test points in 80 internationals

Sexton has been handed the extra captaincy responsibility by new head coach Andy Farrell while Biggar has taken over the goal-kicking duties from prolific full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

“It comes with a responsibility,” said Biggar.

“I always say this game we play couldn’t be more of a team game. If your 14 team-mates don’t turn up it’s very difficult, but with kicking you get to one part of the game and it couldn’t be any more individual.

“You’ve got no one to blame if it goes wrong. It’s nice to be given the nod on that.

“Leigh’s record speaks for itself and we’re fortunate we’ve got good options in the squad. My kicking form has been good over the years and it’s just about trying to maintain that.”

‘Never been happier’

Adams scores second try after ‘beautiful’ through the legs pass by Biggar

Biggar’s elevation is indicative of the confidence the fly-half is showing with Northampton and Wales. That was demonstrated by his superb between the legs pass for a try by Josh Adams against Italy.

“I am happy at Northampton and that makes it a lot easier when you come down here (to Wales),” said Biggar.

“I realise I am not going to be around forever – I turned 30 last year, so I’m going to enjoy myself as much as I can in the next four or five years until I’m out of the game.

“Whatever role I have in this team it’s great to be involved. I want to be involved as long as possible, but certainly club-wise I have never been happier.”

For the latest Welsh rugby union news follow @BBCScrumV