Dan Biggar may only have been back at Franklin’s Gardens for a week, but the Wales fly-half is already back in the boss’ good books after starring in Northampton Saints’ opening Heineken Champions Cup victory.
The 30-year-old returned to the Black, Green and Gold jersey in style on Sunday following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, notching up 20 points against Lyon OU in a flawless display from the kicking tee.
“Dan is the best in the world at what he does.”Chris Boyd, director of rugby
Biggar also assisted Rory Hutchinson who grabbed Saints’ only try of the clash, with the hosts running out 25-14 winners against the Top14 leaders to mark their return to Europe’s top flight.
And director of rugby Boyd – who benefitted from the return of all seven of Saints’ World Cup stars to the matchday 23, plus new signings Owen Franks and Matt Proctor – singled out man-of-the-match Biggar after a controlling display.
“Dan will always do that for you. He is the best in the world at what he does,” he said. “It was particularly pleasing that Dan and the other World Cup returnees fitted in so well.
“We’ve benefited from Cobus Reinach being away with South Africa and practising his box-kicks throughout.
“He came back and I thought the accuracy of his kick and Dan’s chase was a key part of the game.
“If I include the two Kiwi boys who weren’t released out of New Zealand until after the World Cup we had nine [back this weekend].
“They are all good men who want to play for the Club, and they realise that as senior players and leaders their contributions are really important.”
Saints sit second in Pool 1 following the win with a trip to Italy to face Benetton Rugby ahead of them next weekend.
But despite a fast start to both their European and domestic campaigns, Boyd is adamant his side still have plenty of work to do to improve in the coming weeks, having let Lyon come back at them during the second half.
He added: “It’s a bit of a recurring story because we were happy with the outcome but not very happy with the performance.
“If we reflect back on the 80 minutes, the damage was done by half-time when we were 19-0 up. Lyon are a really good side but with an ounce of luck we might have scored a couple more tries in that first half – we created a few and didn’t quite finish them off.
“Our execution and finishing aside, the way we controlled the game during the first half was pretty good.
“But we didn’t get possession and territory at the same time in the second half. We gave away a couple of penalties and there were some loose bits of skill execution.
“When we kicked to make it outside of 21 points up, we would have had to capitulate to lose at that stage, but it wasn’t great from there on.
“We’re pretty disappointed with the second half, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we’re looking forward to next week.”