Dan Biggar is set to reach another major milestone this weekend, when he will become the youngest Osprey ever to reach 100 caps for the region.
The 22-year old fly-half became the region’s all-time highest points scorer when he leapfrogged James Hook at the top of the pile earlier this season, and is now set to join an exclusive club of Ospreys centurions.
Speaking about reaching 100 caps on Saturday evening, when the Ospreys make the short trip east to the Cardiff City Stadium to face the Blues, Biggar said:
“It’s a nice milestone to make. It means a lot to play for your home region, and to reach 100 appearances this weekend is something I’m proud of. The main aim on Saturday is picking up four points and holding on to second place, but it’s something special for me, definitely.
“It’s scary looking around the place to be honest. I’m still only 22 myself but with so many youngsters really coming through this season I feel at times like a senior member of the squad, instead of someone still in the early days of my career. I’m very proud to get to 100 but I won’t be thinking of that come Saturday evening, the focus will be entirely on the job in hand, which will be to make sure that the Ospreys take another step towards the play-offs.”
Biggar came through the Ospreys development pathway, having attended Gowerton Comprehensive School in Swansea, and played his club rugby at Gorseinon RFC before featuring in the Premiership in the white of Swansea RFC. He made his Ospreys debut as an 18-year old at the Millennium Stadium, coming off the bench late on in an EDF Energy Cup semi-final win over Saracens, establishing himself as first choice fly half early the following season.
Top scorer in the PRO12 for each of the last two seasons, he is again top of the list this season on 181 points with three games to go. He needs just 54 points to become the first ever Osprey to reach 1000.
Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, paid tribute to Dan, saying:
“Daniel’s record as an Osprey speaks for itself. To reach 100 caps for your home region is a special achievement at any time, but to do it so young, when still 22, makes is even more special and says everything about him. A proven performer, Dan has won games for us on many occasions. He’s a passionate Ospreylian who has a real desire for the region to succeed and is always working hard to improve his own game. Hopefully, he can continue to rewrite the history books at the region for many seasons to come.”
With the Ospreys sitting in second place in the PRO12 with just three games to go, the race for a home semi-final is heating up, and Biggar believes that the standards set in the last two fixtures, wins over Leinster and Treviso, mustn’t slip.
“The next couple are big games with the added pressure that comes with local derbies” he said.
“Our form in the last two games has been good and we have to maintain the standards we’ve set. We know that three wins from the last three games will secure us second place and a home semi-final so that’s got to be our target.
“We’ve seen for ourselves over the last couple of years how important a home semi-final is having got the final in 2010 with a home win over Glasgow before losing in Munster in the semis last year. It can make a big difference. Saturday will be a tough test for us. If we can get through that intact, still holding onto second then we’ll be in a good place.”
After the Blues it’s the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium and the small matter of Shane William’s farewell match. Biggar paid his own tribute to a player he describes as ‘an Ospreys legend’:
“For me, just to have been a small part of his career and to be able to work with him every day at Llandarcy over the last few years has been a privilege. To say he’s a team-mate is something I can be proud of. He’s a once in a lifetime player and he deserves all the praise that comes his way. He’s a true professional, a true great of the game, and an Ospreys legend.
“He’s a top, top, bloke and we’ll try our best to make it a big day for him with the big send-off he deserves in front of the Ospreys fans at the Liberty but Shane is professional enough to know that what’s most important is, just like this Saturday, we need to get the points from the game to help us get into the play-offs.”