DAN BIGGAR: My X-rated rant at the Rugby World Cup, losing 5lb in an hour as Wales faced Fiji… and celebrating win with a 2am burger, chips and a bottle of red wine!
- Wales fly-half Biggar opens up exclusively to Mail Sport about the World Cup
- He revealed how he lost 5lbs in an hour when Wales faced Fiji in France
- His side had burgers and chips at 2am to celebrate the victory over Fiji
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
I got to bed at about 4.30am after our game against Fiji and felt totally relieved as my head hit the pillow.
It is always difficult to get to sleep after a match because there is so much adrenaline in your body. Our families came to join us in the hotel and we had burgers and chips at about 2am, washed down with a bottle of red. It is a bit of a treat meal after the match because we burn so many calories — especially in a match like that.
Before the match I weighed 14st 11lb and after I was 14st 6lb. It was so hot and sticky in Bordeaux that I lost five pounds in 60 minutes. There was so much sweat dripping off me that my shirt was drenched through.
I asked the kit man If I could change my jersey at half-time but the spare shirt was the wrong size. I am a large and the spare was an XL. I prefer a shirt that is half a size bigger, unlike the guys who are in better shape and like to show off their muscles.
We were up at 9am on Monday to fly to Nice and there were some sore bodies on the plane. Our tackle count was 253, a new World Cup record and a crazy figure.
It is difficult to get to sleep after a match because there is so much adrenaline in your body
Before playing Fiji I weighed 14st 11lb. After, I was 14st 6lb. I lost five pounds in 60 minutes
I woke up to messages about the mouthful I gave to my mates George North & Nick Tompkins
Fiji’s players are almost super human. Every single one of them is quick, powerful, explosive and difficult to put down.
Fiji have captured the hearts of a lot of people over the last few months and they have a lot of supporters. Rightly so. A lot of people had them down as favourites so it was a massive feeling of relief to get the victory. I am really proud of the win and now we can go about our business quietly. We are more than happy to work under the radar.
I woke up to plenty of messages about the mouthful I gave to my good mates George North and Nick Tompkins at the end of the first half. It was a build-up of frustration because we had gifted Fiji some pretty easy territory. Our plan was that when the ball gets turned over in transition then we need to shift it. On a couple of occasions we did not do that and we got turned over so the boys were obviously trying to correct that, but it was the wrong time and the wrong place.
You need some context and when you are on your own line in the last play of the half against Fiji, you need to get the ball off the pitch. I was furious we did not have the calmness to just hoof it into the stands because we were under the pump.
I know some people have had a pop at me about the way I spoke but I could not care less. I really do not care what people think of me. If it happened tomorrow I would do it again. That is who I am. We had a bit of a laugh about it after the game. As a group, we are good at handling adversity and confrontation.
We have talked about wanting to be able to hold each other to account. It is not personal, I love the guys to bits. We make our points, take them on board and then it is all fine. There will be a few former players trying to keep themselves relevant and that is fine.
It is a non-story. There were a few expletives, that is for sure. I said something along the lines of: ‘Use our heads, get the ball off the f****** pitch… we’re f****** killing ourselves!’ It is no different to how I have been for 15 years.
We have talked about wanting to be able to hold each other to account, it’s not personal
I love coming through those moments when you are under the pump but sometimes I feel old
I love coming through those moments when you are under the pump. I never want to come off the pitch but I have been struggling with my lower back for a while and it stiffened up when I sat down at half-time. It is times like that when I feel old.
The physios told me to dig in for as long as I could and when I came off at 32-14 with about 15 minutes to go I thought we would see out the game relatively comfortably.
How wrong I was. We tend to make life hard for ourselves and that felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life. The last few minutes were full of errors from us and Fiji had so much momentum. Fair play to them because I am sure it was great to watch for the neutral.
When that pass went to Semi Radradra in the final play I think everyone in the stadium thought he was going to finish in the corner. He is probably one of the first players in world rugby that you would back to score from that position. I was sure that ball was going to be caught and dotted down with a conversion to win it.
Sometimes in games you need a bit of luck and I think we got that bit of luck. I said to Warren Gatland in the changing room afterwards that it was my mum’s birthday that day and maybe she was looking down on us. She passed away a couple of years ago and my motivation at this World Cup is to do her proud. I like to think that my mum was giving us a helping hand from up above in the last few seconds.
I am going to miss that feeling like mad when I retire. Nothing will ever replace it. I walked off the pitch in two minds about whether I made the right decision to retire from international rugby. It is such an incredible buzz. But waking up the next morning feeling like I had been hit by a bus reminded me why it is almost time to hang up the boots.
Dan Biggar’s next column will be in the Mail on Sunday.
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