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Biggar hoping to make Wales better

Guinness PRO12 Editor

24 Jun 2010


Magners League Grand Final winner Dan Biggar will get his big chance to push for a 2011 Rugby World Cup spot when he starts at outside half for Wales against New Zealand in the second Test in Hamilton on Saturday.

The Ospreys No 10 has been handed the responsibility of dictating tactics for Wales and they seek to avenge their 42-9 defeat at Carisbrook, Dunedin, last weekend. The 20-year-old came on as a second half replacement for the injured Stephen Jones last Saturday, but is given the chance to play from the start at the Waikato Stadium.

The 90-times capped Jones is included among the replacements, while Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies is the other change to the starting XV in Dunedin as he replaces the injured Andrew Bishop alongside Jamie Roberts at centre.

There are a further four changes on the bench with Dragons wing Will Harries and Blues scrum half Richie Rees joining Jones in providing cover for the backs and Ospreys prop Craig Mitchell comes in for the Blues John Yapp, who turned an ankle in training this week.

Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett, Blues lock Deiniol Jones and Scarlets flanker Rob McCusker are all retained as replacements with Scarlets’ young scrum half Tavis Knoyle missing out this week.

"This is a magnificent place to tour and we have received a wonderful welcome in Hamilton after being involved in a tough game against New Zealand last week," said Gatland.

"There is a lot of mutual respect amongst the players and the people of New Zealand and Wales and we are two nations who love our rugby, but you don't get respect in this country, collectively or individually, unless you perform on the pitch here.

"Kiwis talk fondly about the Welshmen involved in the 1971 Lions tour because they won the series, they talk glowingly about players like Ryan Jones who made an impact on the pitch on the 2005 Lions tour.

"We want to leave here with our heads held high after Saturday and with the respect of the New Zealand nation and we will only do that if we perform as individuals and collectively on the pitch.

"This team has an opportunity to create a reputation in this country that will last into the Rugby World Cup next year and beyond and we need to take that opportunity."

WALES: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Tom Prydie; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Gavin Thomas, Ryan Jones (capt)

Replacements: Huw Bennett, Craig Mitchell, Deiniol Jones, Rob McCusker, Richard Rees, Stephen Jones, Will Harries