Biggar: The pressure is all on them - Gatland defends selection for Scotland showdown

Warren Gatland has a strong record against Scotland and he will be hoping that continues in Edinburgh

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar is eager to get Wales’ Six Nations campaign back on track after they were comfortably beaten in round one by Ireland.

They travel to BT Murrayfield to face off against a red-hot Scotland team fresh off an extremely impressive victory against England at Twickenham.

Wales started slow against Ireland and were comprehensively dominated in the first half and trailed 27-3 at the break.

Biggar says that the priority this week is to get out of the blocks quickly and take the game to Gregor Townsend's side.

He said: “For us, the big focus has been on starting well and making sure that with some of the good stuff we did on Saturday, to try and repeat that and put our game on Scotland from the first minute as opposed to waiting until we’re 21-3 down.”

Head coach Warren Gatland has made some big changes to the side this week as he has binned the back-row that started against Ireland with Taulupe Faletau dropped to the bench while Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric are left out of the 23 altogether.

Biggar added: “It’s very strange to see a team sheet without those three names on it. What it does is give young lads like Christ (Tshiunza), Daf (Jenkins), boys like that opportunities to come in, see what they’re about in a pretty tough, hostile environment against a good side and hopefully put us in with a chance of winning the game.

“It’s great for those young lads to get some experience in a tough environment.”

Gatland has a flawless record when coaching against Scotland. In the last 11 games against them, he has emerged victorious every time. This Scotland side, though, looks more dangerous than ever.

Biggar is characteristically defensive of Wales and confident in their ability to pull off a victory.

He said: “Scotland played well last week against England. We’ll have to see how they go on Saturday and see if they can back it up. The pressure is all on them.

“It’s going to be a great occasion, we’re looking forward to it. We tend to respond to a slightly indifferent performance and when the pressure is on us.

“We’re fully aware that this weekend up in Murrayfield is probably one of the toughest tests we’re going to have against this Scotland side. This group of boys tend to respond really well when our backs are against the wall.”

Gatland, himself, is confident in the changes he has made and backs his side to do the job at Murrayfield.

Dropping Faletau to the bench before the start of this tournament seemed inconceivable, but Gatland is looking to explore other options at number eight in the eventuality that the Cardiff forward is unavailable.

He wants to look at the option of Jac Morgan in that position and said: “Who’s our cover at eight if Faletau gets injured?

“It could’ve been someone like Aaron Wainwright as well. We’ve kept some continuity as well in the back line. We thought we attacked pretty well but just weren’t clinical in finishing some of the opportunities. There’s changes but I wouldn’t say wholesale changes.

“We’ve tried to work on the balance and giving these youngsters some time. There have been changes but I wouldn’t say too many.”

Wales Starting XV
Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (C), Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard, Christ Tshiunza, Tommy Refell, Jac Morgan.


Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Rhys Davies (first cap), Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Rhys Patchell, Alex Cuthbert.

Scotland Starting XV
Stuart Hogg; Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan Van Der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ben White; Pierre Schoeman, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Richie Gray, Grant Gilchrist (VC), Jamie Ritchie (C), Luke Crosbie, Matt Fagerson.


Fraser Brown, Jamie Bhatti, WP Nel, Jonny Grey, Jack Dempsey, George Horne, Blair Kinghorn, Chris Harris.