Biggar is better for Wales – Gatland

Fly-half went off after suffering head injuries in successive World Cup games.

By Press Association Published: 18 October 2019 - 6.18am



Rugby Union

Warren Gatland says that Wales have done “due diligence” and “covered all the bases” in terms of fly-half Dan Biggar’s recovery from concussion.

Biggar suffered head injuries in successive World Cup games against Australia and Fiji, but he has met all targets and will line up in Sunday’s quarter-final appointment with France.

“He felt better after the (Fiji) game, it was clear,” Wales head coach Gatland said.

Wales v Fiji – Pool D – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Oita Stadium
Wales’ Dan Biggar receives medical attention after clashing with a team mate during the match against Fiji (David Davies/PA)

“So we went through, made sure in terms of consulting the right people and making sure that they were aware of everything, getting him scanned, (the) independent consultant, that was important.

“So we feel that we’ve gone through that due diligence and making sure we’ve covered all the bases in terms of Dan.

“He has obviously done all the protocols, been fit for three or four days in terms of having passed those, so we are obviously taking all the proper precautions from our point of view.

“He’s desperate as a player to play, but yeah, there’s always… we’ve been conscious in the past, and George North in the past has had a few knocks, and other players.

Gareth Ainsworth head-to-head with Antoine Dupont (PA Graphic)
Gareth Davies head-to-head with Antoine Dupont (PA Graphic)

“And we’ve just got to make sure if it does happen, if he gets a knock in the next few games, the next couple of months, obviously there would probably be a different course of action.

“But he is very confident, you know that he is 100 per cent.”

The Welsh Rugby Union said it had “worked collaboratively” with World Rugby to deliver the highest level of care for Biggar.

The WRU said that Biggar remained symptom-free after the game. Management had included MRI scanning and two consultations with a globally-renowned independent concussion consultant from Australia.

Biggar, centres Jonathan Davies (knee) and Hadleigh Parkes (shoulder), plus wing George North (ankle), have all been named in the Wales starting line-up to face France in Oita.

Gatland has selected the same team that accounted for Pool D rivals Australia last month, with Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi forming the back-row unit, and Ross Moriarty being on the bench, where Adam Beard provides lock cover instead of Aaron Shingler.

Gatland added: “Hadleigh took a full part in today’s training session. That was the first time he had taken a part (since) he got a knock on the shoulder.

“Jonathan trained two days ago, so he was fit. As a squad, we are pretty healthy, really.”

Australia v Wales – Pool D – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Tokyo Stadium
Wales’ Hadleigh Parkes has returned to full training (David Davies/PA)

As for tackling France – they knocked Wales out in the 2011 World Cup semi-finals – Gatland said: “They are a big team, a physical team.

“We’ve had a great record against them – we’ve won seven of the last eight games – and the one we lost was the 100-minute game in Paris where they scored in the last minute.

“But even in saying that, they’ve always been close games and we are going in with a lot of belief, a lot of self-confidence and are really excited about the game.

“We are feeling really positive about the way we’ve prepared. We had a great training session this morning.

“There was an edge to this week, and the players have been incredibly professional in the way they’ve prepared.

“The staff have done extra work, and in doing that we’ve tried to nail off every situation because we know it’s knockout stages.

“The message to the players we’ve been driving is you’ve got two choices here – we are either on the plane on Monday going home, or we are here until the end of the tournament.”