Wales fly-half Dan Biggar will join Premiership side Northampton Saints next season.The 27-year-old will move to Franklin’s Gardens in the summer of 2018 after completing this season with Ospreys.Biggar has won 56 caps for Wales and was a member of the British & Irish Lions squad in New Zealand this summer.
“We’re delighted to have secured the signature of such a highly rated player,” said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder. “The fact that he has put pen to paper a year in advance shows that Dan has plenty of belief in where we are going as a club and our ambitions for the future.”The exact length of Biggar’s contract with Saints has not been disclosed.Biggar has made more than 200 appearances for Pro14 side Ospreys since 2007 and scored over 2,000 points for the region.”I’m hugely privileged to sign for a club with the history and tradition of Saints,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me and my family to experience rugby in a different environment and playing in a town and surrounding area which has a massive passion for rugby was a huge attraction.”
The move to Northampton could affect Biggar’s international future as the Welsh Rugby Union’s selection policy permits only four players with clubs outside Wales to play for the national side for the next two seasons. The quota will drop to just two wildcard picks for the 2019/20 season.However, he made it clear that he wishes to remain part of head coach Warren Gatland’s plans.”I would like to thank everyone at the Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union who have supported and helped me throughout my career, and an extra special thank you to the fans who have helped and supported me through highs and lows,” said Biggar.”I hope my passion for the shirt and people of this region has shone through in my performances and I would love to leave on a high note with some silverware. “I also remain fully committed to Wales and achieving the best I can every time I pull on the red shirt.”
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AnalysisBBC Radio Northampton sports editor Graham McKechnie: Saints have fly-halves Piers Francis and Stephen Myler, but the latter is now 33 and has struggled with injury.It’s been clear for a while that Saints have been in the market for an international 10 and Dan Biggar certainly fits the bill.The only shame is that Saints will have to wait almost a year before he joins them, but it is some good news that the supporters needed after Saturday’s defeat by Saracens. Back it up with a win against Tigers on Saturday and suddenly things will look much better at Franklin’s Gardens.Scrum V presenter Ross Harries: There’s no doubt that Dan Biggar’s departure will leave a big hole in the Ospreys squad. His stock rose considerably on the recent Lions tour, and there are few fly-halves in Europe as adept at controlling a game.But the Ospreys’ fly-half cupboard remains well-stocked. Wales international Sam Davies has proved an able deputy – starting more games than his rival last season – and will relish his elevation to first choice. The returning James Hook will also contest for the 10 jersey, and help to mentor Luke Price. From a Wales perspective, Biggar will have to rely on a wildcard selection to be included in Warren Gatland’s squad. Gatland will have four to choose from for the next two seasons, which means one of Biggar, Jamie Roberts, Liam Williams, Taulupe Faletau or George North would miss out.
Source: BBC RSS