British & Irish Lions

Wales captain Jones adamant Biggar will face England

Dan Biggar (AFP)
Dan Biggar (AFP)

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has no doubt Dan Biggar will be fit to face England in the Six Nations Championship at Twickenham on Saturday despite doubts over the star flyhalf's fitness.

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Biggar was named at No 10 when Wales coach Wayne Pivac announced his side on Thursday, despite suffering a knee injury during Northampton's loss to Saracens in the English Premiership last weekend.

But Jones, speaking at the Wales squad's hotel on Friday, said: "I can't guarantee you anything as I'm not a doctor. I have seen him kicking and passing but I am not a medical professional but I can tell you he's going to play tomorrow."

Several other Wales flyhalves are already injured, with Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell and Owen Williams all unavailable for Saturday's match.

Jarrod Evans of Cardiff Blues is set for a first Six Nations start if the influential Biggar is ruled out.

But reigning Grand Slam champions Wales will be particularly keen to have Biggar start on Saturday as they look to avoid a third successive loss in the Six Nations for the first time since 2007 following defeats by Ireland and France.

Biggar was also instrumental in masterminding Wales' recovery from 10-3 down at half-time to a 21-13 victory over England at Cardiff's Principality Stadium during last season's Six Nations.

"That No 10 position in Wales is always in vogue," said Jones. "Dan has got the jersey and the pressure is there and you can see that from his performances.

"When the pressure is there he performs. I am sure he will do it tomorrow."

Yet for all his excellence, Biggar has been criticised for talking too much to referees when rugby union's rulebook says only the captain can do that, and thereby usurping the authority of Jones.

But 34-year-old lock Jones, with a record 137 Wales appearances behind him, insisted he was as much as responsible for the stand-off's outbursts as Biggar himself

"It's my job to harness that," he explained. "If I haven't done that I've probably failed him.

"It's how we channel that as players and Dan has shown in the past he's channelled that in performances where he's been (man-of-the-match) or had great phases of play and I'm sure that will be no different tomorrow."

Jones said there was no need for him to tell Biggar to quieten down.

"There are a few things you need to say when you get to a certain level in the game and sometimes you don't have to talk about things you know can be fixed by performance. For us both, and the squad. temperament should be challenged through actions and not talk."

Wales' recent losses have added to the pressure on Wayne Pivac, who succeeded fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland as coach after last year's World Cup, where the lost in the semi-finals to eventual champions South Africa.

But Jones said they had no need to give Pivac a "statement win".

"Performance is what it's about," he said. "You start to think about statements then you get a bit insular and individual. There is obviously a disappointment in terms of the (previous) results, but a positive in that we know where we can go right."

Wales will be bolstered by the return from lengthy injury lay-offs of Liam Williams and Josh Navidi as they look to deal a hammer blow to World Cup finalists England's title hopes.

"To have those guys back is great," said Jones. "Injuries are no excuse, they happen... There is no hiding place in the Six Nations - particularly this week.

Teams:

England

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Curry, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Charlie Ewels, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Willi Heinz, 23 Henry Slade

Wales

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans

Substitutes: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rhys Carre, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl

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