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Wales aim to copy England's swagger


Dan Biggar says the '2003 England team was such an exceptional team'

Dan Biggar says the '2003 England team was such an exceptional team'

Dan Biggar says the '2003 England team was such an exceptional team'

Dan Biggar believes that England's 2003 World Cup heroes created a template for domination against the major southern hemisphere nations.

And it is the standard Biggar admits Wales are striving to attain ahead of their Millennium Stadium appointment with Australia on Saturday.

While Martin Johnson's England team enjoyed regular victories over the Wallabies, New Zealand and South Africa as they built irresistible momentum towards achieving World Cup glory, Wales are off the pace in comparison.

Despite currently lording it over all their European rivals on the back of two successive RBS 6 Nations titles, they cannot find a formula to beat rugby union's super-powers.

Since toppling Australia in Cardiff five years ago, Wales have suffered 17 straight defeats to the big-three, and it is a statistic that hurts.

"The 2003 England team was such an exceptional team," Wales fly-half Biggar said.

"They probably walked on to the field against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and thought 'we are the best team here'. That is what we have got to get to.

"We are not quite there yet, but it is something the coaches are hugely pushing to make sure that teams come here and sort of think they are underdogs here. We have to build towards that.

"It is frustrating watching England beat these teams and then us not quite getting the results. International rugby is about results, and you are judged on whether you win or lose.

"Saturday is almost like a one-off game. It is a huge opportunity for us to put down a marker and say 'we are here for the next couple of years and we want to be taking southern hemisphere teams right down to the wire and beating them'.

"We are fed up of saying Wales played well against a southern hemisphere team but came out losing by two or three points, a last-minute try or a last-minute penalty.

"The coaches and players have said it is not good enough to lose on Saturday. The autumn campaign (for Wales) will be judged on his game. It will be a success or a pretty mediocre autumn.

"We have proved ourselves in the northern hemisphere, in the Six Nations, over the last couple of years, and it is about making that step up now and us having that bit of a swag when teams come to the Millennium Stadium in the autumn."

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Biggar was an influential performer last season when Wales recovered brilliantly from an opening weekend loss at home to Ireland to set off on a Six Nations title march via victories over France, Italy, Scotland and England.

And despite Rhys Priestland's return from an Achilles tendon injury this term and him starting against South Africa three weeks ago, 24-year-old Biggar has won coach Warren Gatland's vote for the crucial autumn series finale.

"It is a big vote of confidence in myself to just get the nod and go out and try to perform on Saturday," Ospreys playmaker Biggar added.

"I have tried to focus this year on doing more of the smaller things well and the basics well, and then maybe one or two other things fall into place.

"Rhys' form has been excellent as well, and I was lucky enough to get the call, but I am looking forward to grasping it with both hands on Saturday.

"We are both fit now and vying for the place. Myself and Rhys get on very well off the field, I've got a lot of time for him. It's good we are pushing each other, which can only benefit both our games.

"It's great having someone who you respect and who is as good as Rhys alongside you, because you know that if you maybe don't quite perform then you have got someone who can come in and replace you.

"I think that has maybe sharpened me up a little bit this season, knowing that Rhys is back fit.

"Maybe if Rhys wasn't fit, I might have taken it a little bit easier and things, but knowing Rhys was coming back fit it was important I keep my form, keep sharp and keep improving."

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