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Rugby evening headlines as Dan Biggar admits Wales missing best personalities and Cardiff work to help six left behind


Here are the latest rugby headlines on Friday, December 3.

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Biggar admits Wales missed their leaders

Dan Biggar admits Wales missed their leaders during the recent autumn internationals.

The likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, George North and Justin Tipuric were all absent or injured early on as Wales lost to New Zealand and South Africa, before beating Fiji and Australia.

And Biggar believes their personalities were as much of a miss as their rugby abilities.

“We had a lot of big players missing but we had a lot of big personalities missing as well. You need them,” Biggar told the House of Rugby podcast.

“In the forward pack we had a team of doers as opposed to a team of perhaps leaders and vocal players.

“So it fell to myself and probably Foxy (Jon Davies) on a few occasions to drive the team around.

“You need good players playing but you also need your best personalities and characters.

“What the young lads would have realised is there’s a big step up from regional rugby to international rugby and that will put us in good stead going forward.

“You look at someone like Taine Basham who had a really good autumn. If I had said that name to you a year ago you probably wouldn’t even know him particularly well.

“He’s come in and that is going to put pressure on the guys coming back.”

Read more: Get the latest Welsh rugby news, interviews and analysis right here

Cardiff due to land tonight

The majority of the Cardiff Rugby squad will arrive on UK soil tonight after the nightmare trip to South Africa.

A total of 42 players and staff will land at Heathrow and go straight into a designated quarantine hotel for 10 days.

Six other players and staff have stayed behind after testing positive for Covid-19. The region are now working with Welsh Government to bring them home, after strained relations over the past few days.

Several Cardiff figures have previously criticised the Welsh Government for not doing enough to help the team get home.

The trip has been an unmitigated disaster after South Africa was placed on the UK red list following the emergence of the Omnicron Covid-19 variant shortly after Cardiff and the Scarlets arrived there to play two United Rugby Championship matches.

Those games were called off and the Scarlets managed to return to a Belfast quarantine hotel earlier this week.

Cardiff were forced to stay behind after a series of delays and positive Covid tests.

A Cardiff statement read: “After an initial group of 42 Cardiff Rugby players and staff members departed Cape Town this morning, the club’s focus now turns to ensuring the six remaining members in South Africa are repatriated.

“We continue to work closely with Welsh Government to ensure a swift repatriation and thank them for their support and guidance throughout the pandemic and this repatriation process.

“We would specifically like to thank Welsh Government ministers Vaughan Gething and Dawn Bowden for meeting with Cardiff Rugby, Scarlets and Welsh Rugby Union yesterday to discuss the ongoing situation.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Welsh Government in the future to ensure the growth of professional and grassroots rugby in our region and throughout Wales.”

Six Nations U-20s fixtures announced

Wales will open their U20 Six Nations campaign under new coach Byron Hayward against Ireland in Cork on February 4.

The competition will be played on the same weekends as the men’s senior tournament.

The game with the Irish will launch the U20s event for 2022.

Wales will host Scotland in round two and face England on the road in the next batch of matches, finishing with home games against France and Italy.

All Wales’ matches will be played at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay.

For Hayward, installed as Wales U20s head coach this week, heading north should prove a nostalgic experience. Alongside Danny Wilson, he took international rugby to Colwyn Bay for the very first time in 2012 when Parc Eirias hosted their first championship fixtures.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve been up there but the times we had there were always great,” he recalled.

“I was part of the U20s group when they first went there back in 2012 — the place was rocking. I know the players absolutely love playing there because the people of north Wales are so passionate about their rugby.”

Matches will be broadcast in Six Nations territories either on TV, broadcaster streaming platforms or via Six Nations digital channels.

All matches will be available in the UK on BBC iPlayer and Ireland on RTE and Virgin Media, while Sky Italia will broadcast the matches of Italy Under 20s. Broadcast details for France will follow. It is the first time that broadcasters in Ireland will show the championship in its entirety.

The tournament will come to a conclusion on March 20 with a ‘Super Sunday’ of matches with England v Italy, Ireland v France and Scotland v Wales.

Want the latest Welsh rugby news sent straight to you? Look no further.

Wales U20 fixtures in 2022 U20 Six Nations

Fri 4 Feb: Ireland v Wales – Musgrave Park 8pm

Fri 11 Feb: Wales v Scotland – Parc Eirias 8pm

Fri 25 Feb: England v Wales – TBC – 7pm

Thurs 10 March: Wales v France Parc Eirias 8pm

Sun 20 March: Wales v Italy Parc Eirias 2pm

Wilson wants to learn lessons against Dragons

Danny Wilson has challenged Glasgow to show they have learned from their United Rugby Championship defeat at Benneton last weekend as they look to bounce back against Dragons at Scotstoun.

The head coach was critical of the number of penalties Warriors conceded in Italy as they let victory slip from their grasp and has called on his team to be much sharper in the key moments this weekend.

Wilson told the Glasgow website: “We look back at the Benetton game as a missed opportunity for an away win and we need to be better at home this week.

“We addressed our performance and lack of discipline at the start of the week, took our learnings from that game and now we turn our focus onto this weekend’s challenge.

“We’re looking forward to getting back on the pitch tomorrow and welcoming the Dragons to Scotstoun.”

Summer signings Josh McKay and Domingo Miotti are in line to make their Glasgow debuts after being named in the matchday 23 for the visit of Dragons.

New Zealand-born full-back McKay is in the starting XV as one of five changes from the team that started in Treviso, while Argentina international fly-half Miotti is listed among the replacements.

Ali Price and Zander Fagerson return to the team for the first time since representing Scotland in the Autumn Tests.

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