Biggar praises Welsh defence in victory over England

Dan Biggar hailed a huge defensive effort from Wales as they ground out a 13-6 triumph over England in Cardiff to move top of the world rankings.

Dan Biggar hailed a huge defensive effort from Wales as they ground out a 13-6 triumph over England in Cardiff to move top of the world rankings.

A first-half try from George North proved the difference as the hosts avenged their defeat last weekend at Twickenham in the second World Cup warm-up match between the sides.

Biggar was one of three changes to the team that lost 33-19 a week earlier after fellow fly-half Gareth Anscombe picked up a knee injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.

And after the 29-year-old Northampton Saints playmaker set up the winning try with a perfectly judged cross-field kick, Biggar praised his teammates for the character they showed.

“We’re delighted to get the win, we were all fully aware we probably didn’t front up enough last week and I think it was just a huge defensive effort,” said the man of the match.

“The forwards were brilliant all day. England’s strength is obviously set-piece and driving lineouts, so to front up as we did and keep a world-class team like England try-less is a special effort.

“There is still plenty to work on but we go to Turkey now on the back of a win and we will have a tough week there and hopefully get better for the two Ireland games.”

Biggar also conceded the chance to go ahead of New Zealand in the rankings last weekend and extend their 14-game unbeaten run had possibly played a role in their defeat at Twickenham.

“I think we probably got a little bit caught up in that last weekend with the winning run and world number one and all that, we just want to keep going about our business,” he said.

“We worked hard for each other, we ground out a win. It was a huge defensive effort and we’re looking to get better but it’s obviously nice to be where we are.”

Wales opened the scoring with a Biggar penalty on 26 minutes, before the fly-half showed his creative flair to find North for his 38th international try, converted by Biggar.

George Ford closed the deficit to four points with two penalties of his own after the restart, but Leigh Halfpenny’s lengthy three-pointer secured a hard-fought win for Wales.

And having told his players to redeem themselves following their performance at Twickenham a week ago, Wales head coach Warren Gatland was delighted with their response.

“It was a proper Test match, it was tough, it was physical,” he said. “I said to the boys in the changing room, we showed massive character and big cojones.

“We lost [Liam] Williams just before kick-off. Other teams are going to beat us at some stage, but if you’re going to beat us you have to play pretty well.”

He added: “It’s always nice to beat England, this win was important psychologically. We had to make changes early, we dealt with that and it shows what we’re about.

“There was calmness in our box for most of the game. We’ll make a lot of changes for the Ireland game, there’s a lot of players in the squad who will get a chance.”