As the Ospreys continue their preparations for the visit of second placed Ulster to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday (KO 4.30pm), Dan Biggar says that his team will have to be on top of their game if they're going to win the battle of the 100 per centers.
Both teams go into the game off the back of three wins from their first three RaboDirect PRO12 games of the new season, Ulster sitting just ahead of the Ospreys in the formative table thanks to a points difference that is just one better than their hosts this weekend.
With wins over Glasgow and Aironi in the first two weeks, Ulster then thumped Cardiff Blues 20-3 at Ravenhill last weekend, while the Ospreys have seen off Leinster and Edinburgh already at the Liberty Stadium, and last Saturday secured a narrow victory away to Benetton Treviso.
Focussing on Sunday’s opponents Biggar, who has already clocked up 47 points this season at an average of 16 a game, says that Ulster will provide possibly the sternest test for the Ospreys yet:
“We know that we’ll have to be on top of our game” he warned.
“They are coming here full of confidence with a lot of good players in their squad, and on the back of a very good win against the Blues last week.
“We know a lot about them. They’ve got a very good half back partnership who will look to dictate the game and try to make sure their team plays in the right areas of the pitch. There’s quality everywhere in their side. They’ve got good forwards and a good lineout, but they’ve also got some lovely rugby players in the backs as well, with threats everywhere.
“We are going to have to be right on the money on Sunday if we are going to get anything, improve in the areas where we didn’t get it right last week and up our defence.
“We have a lot of areas to work on after last weekend, we know that, but we want to go out and express ourselves, put on a good show and show what this Ospreys team is about. It’ll probably be the toughest game for us so far, but we want to rise to the challenge.”
21-year old Biggar kicked 19 points in last Saturday’s 32-27 win in northern Italy, but he says that the team will need to improve in a number of areas from that performance if they are going to maintain their winning start to the season:
“It was a tough afternoon. A lot has been made of the conditions, the heat was overwhelming and the boys struggled to adapt to it in the first 20/25 minutes. We were quite sloppy and gave away a lot of penalties, which didn’t help us at all.
“We’d said before the game that our indiscipline would be their main weapon. If we gave them lots of penalties they’d be able to get field position and pick up points and that’s exactly what happened. We struggled to deal with that in the first quarter, but we kept ourselves in the game with a try right on half-time that gave us a bit of a boost to go in at the break and then managed to raise our performance for the second half.
“Sometimes you have to take satisfaction from digging in and getting the result when you haven’t played particularly well. You look at Man Utd in football over the last 10 or 15 years, they don’t necessarily start the season playing well but they are able to pick up results that allow them to stick in there for the business end of the season. It’s a good habit to have and it’s one that we want to have as well. We showed signs of it in Treviso.
“It’s about digging in. We started well against Leinster but realise we’ve dropped off a little bit in the two games since then. We are back at home on Sunday against Ulster and we want to put a performance in, play well, come out on top and send our fans home happy.”