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'Diligent' Dan Biggar earns high praise from Wales captain Sam Warburton

Published 11/02/2016

Wales captain Sam Warburton, pictured, has praised fly-half Dan Biggar's professionalism
Wales captain Sam Warburton, pictured, has praised fly-half Dan Biggar's professionalism

Wales captain Sam Warburton has lavished praise on "diligent professional" Dan Biggar following the fly-half's rapid recovery from injury.

Biggar will face RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland on Saturday, less than a week after he limped off against Ireland in Dublin with a sprained ankle that Wales initially feared could have meant he would spend up to five weeks on the sidelines.

But Biggar trained fully on Thursday, with Warburton saying: "He was barking instructions and back to his usual self.

"It is great that he has made a good recovery - it just shows what a great professional he is.

"A lot of people won't see the late nights on the ice machine and then all the way through the night, probably not stringing together more than two hours' kip at one time, and being with the physios when everyone is having a couple of days off.

"You have got to give him a lot of credit for the way he has worked.

"If an average person just sat back and didn't really do anything, you would be probably be out for three weeks, but because he is such a diligent professional, he has managed to get back so soon."

Wales hooker Scott Baldwin added: "He was always confident he would be able to train on Thursday and get back in.

"He is the most professional bloke you will ever meet, and it's credit to him and the medical staff that he is back and ready to go this week. When we came in on Tuesday, he was out of the (protective) boot and walking around and saying it had come on leaps and bounds."

Biggar will be key to Wales' hopes of posting a ninth successive win against Scotland, which is a fact not lost on head coach Warren Gatland.

"He has developed really well as a 10 in terms of his understanding and the variation he brings to deciding how to play," Gatland said.

"That is whether we set a close target, followed by a wide target, whether we use our kicking strategy in terms of slowing line-speed down and turning opponents around, and potentially being an attacking, running threat himself by playing flat and wide, too.

"He is important to us, and he has really developed in the last couple of years.

"A lot of players have confidence in him as a 10 because he does communicate and speaks well, with a lot of confidence. Players realise how competitive he is as well. He's incredibly well-respected in that role."

While Biggar's return will command the centre-stage, Saturday also sees a milestone for centre Jonathan Davies, who wins his 50th cap.

Davies will rejoin the Scarlets later this year from French club Clermont Auvergne, making him another Wales international to head back to British rugby following stints in France's Top 14.

"It's great to see him reach his 50th cap and continue his midfield partnership with Jamie (Roberts), which has been pretty special for us over a number of years," Gatland added.

"The great thing is he's coming home. I don't believe that any of our players have improved going to France - I don't think any of them have come back a better player.

"So the fact he has decided to come back home and we can have more hands-on with him and work with him, hopefully we will see him getting back to where he was and improving his game.

"He has recovered from quite a significant (knee) injury, and he wasn't involved in the World Cup. Hopefully, he stays injury-free for as long as possible.

"Hopefully, he has another 50 caps in him if his body can stay fit."

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