Dan Biggar: Wales man of the match 'motivated' by JJ Williams criticism

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar tackles England lock Maro Itoje
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar impressed in both defence and attack against England

Fly-half Dan Biggar has hit back at former Wales wing JJ Williams following his man-of-the-match display in Saturday's 13-6 win against England.

Williams said Wales "would not win the World Cup" with Biggar lining up at 10 but the Northampton half-back played a starring role in the win in Cardiff.

"Special thanks to JJ Williams for all his comments this week," Biggar told Channel 4.

"It has been really motivating and support for the team."

Biggar has been left as Wales' first choice World Cup fly-half after a serious knee injury suffered by Gareth Anscombe.

Wales coach Warren Gatland also brushed off criticism from former Wales and British and Irish Lions legend Williams.

"Dan needed to play 10 because he has been coming off the bench and doing a great job when we've had Anscombe," said Gatland.

"I thought he was really good.

"I don't know about that former Welsh player. Was he really old? Played in the 70s probably? Did he play over 50-odd years ago? Probably. That does explain a few things."

Wales have also claimed their official place at the top of the world rankings for the first time as they rose above New Zealand.

Ex-wing JJ Williams won 30 caps for Wales and seven for the British and Irish Lions in the 1970s
Ex-wing JJ Williams won 30 caps for Wales and seven for the British and Irish Lions in the 1970s

Gatland's side had the same chance to claim top spot last week but lost 33-19 at Twickenham last Sunday, their first defeat in 14 matches.

"We probably got a little caught up with that last weekend, with the winning run and the world number one tag," said Biggar.

"We want to keep going about our business. We have worked hard for each other today and ground out a win with a huge defensive effort.

"We are looking to get better. It's nice to be where we are but hopefully we can continue the run.

"We played some good stuff and probably could have been a bit more ahead in the first half.

"It was pleasing to get over the line and dig it out as we have done over the years.

Warren Gatland on Wales being world number one

"The forwards were brilliant. England's set-piece is their strength and their driving line-out. To front up as we did and keep a world-class team like England try-less is really special.

"We are looking to get better. It's nice to be where we are but hopefully we can continue the run."

No serious injuries

Gatland said there were no serious injuries after the game despite James Davies (head), Jake Ball (dead leg), Aaron Wainwright (dead leg), Biggar (shoulder and groin) and Gareth Davies (hip) all coming off.

The Wales coach also revealed full-back Liam Williams was a precautionary late withdrawal after suffering a hamstring strain in the warm-up when he was replaced by Leigh Halfpenny.

"I spoke to Liam a few minutes before we finished the warm-up and he was gutted," said Gatland.

"I also spoke to him afterwards and said if this had it been a World Cup final or the last game of the Six Nations, you probably strap it up and take the risk.

"The last thing he needed to do was pull his hamstring properly and be out for five or six weeks.

Leigh Halfpenny was a late pre-match change for Wales at full-back for the injured Liam Williams
Leigh Halfpenny played his 82nd Test for Wales after being a late pre-match change at full-back for the injured Liam Williams

"It was tough on Leigh Halfpenny because he'd done a really tough training session yesterday and he had one this morning as well!"

Halfpenny admitted he was tired as he made his first Test appearance since November 2018 and the Scarlets full-back kicked a late penalty to help seal victory.

"I'm not going to lie, we had a couple of tough sessions in the last couple of days," said Halfpenny.

"Yesterday we had speed endurance training and basically shuttles. The boys put it in yesterday after the Captain's Run.

"Then this morning I had leg weights followed by a watt bike session in the altitude room.

"The boys were coming out of the room in a pretty bad way. I wasn't walking too well, I'll be honest.

"But you get the call and that adrenaline just kicks in and it's an opportunity to put that jersey on."

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