Northampton Saints fly-half Dan Biggar is relishing the chance to prove himself in a British & Irish Lions shirt this summer, and insists that thoughts of home will be his motivation as he makes his eighth Lions appearance this evening against Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg.
Running a game from the No. 10 shirt is something the 31-year-old has become accustomed to in Black, Green and Gold, and now Biggar’s stellar performances have caught the eye across the rugby world – with calls for the fly-half to start the first Test against South Africa on 24 July.
Having got his second Lions Tour off a great start with a superb outing against Japan, Biggar feels he is now more in the mix to secure the No.10 shirt than he was in New Zealand four years ago.
“Four years ago, it felt a little bit like I was on the outskirts of things,” Biggar said.
“I was up against Owen [Farrell] and Johnny [Sexton] who were at the peak of their powers then. I resigned myself to playing well but being a little on the outskirts. Now it feels very much like I am in the mix.”
Despite the numerous plaudits currently being paid to the Saints fly-half, Biggar insists that 90 per cent of his rivals remain more talented than him, but says that the competition drives him to become a better player.
He continued: “I stick by that, and I see that as a positive. The biggest compliment you can give me is that I work my socks off and do a lot of the things that perhaps require a lot of hard work. That is in my DNA.”
And for the humble Welshman, it will be thoughts of home that will be his driving force as he takes to the field in South Africa this summer.
“It’s definitely family,” Biggar added when asked about his motivation.
“When you become a dad your mindset changes. Being away from them for a long time is hard, so to go back with a Test series victory would be a huge thing - that would really make being away for all this time worthwhile.
“My mum passed away a few weeks ago and she was a huge influence on me, so to do that would be a huge thing.
“The best thing for me has to be able to come into training and playing because it forces you to take your mind off things
“It has been a really tough couple of months, but I know she would have wanted me to be out here, and it would have been really special for her watching.
“To do it for her would mean the world.”