Wales captain Dan Biggar has said the upcoming Six Nations campaign feels like his first as he prepares to lead a squad missing 680 caps to injury, including regular skipper Alun Wyn Jones.
Biggar will make his bow as captain in Wales’ opener against Ireland in Dublin on Feb. 5 as they seek to retain the title they won last year.
The fly-half has tapped up Jones for some advice, but also believes wearing the No. 10 jersey has its own kind of pressure that has prepared for the senior leadership role.
“He [Jones] said to just be my own man. I have worked with him for a number of years, so have picked up one or two of the bits that he does around the place,” Biggar said.
“For me it is about really encouraging the other senior players to speak up in meetings and at training, so it is not just one voice all the time and white noise.
“I can’t have added much more pressure [to what he has already]. To have played fly-half for Wales for nearly 13 years, you’ve got to be fairly used to it. But this does feel almost like my first campaign.”
Biggar has 95 caps for his country and if he stays injury-free through the Six Nations will reach three figures in their final fixture at home to Italy on March 19.
“It will be a huge day for me personally. But I am more interested in how many more I can get. I am not looking at one hundred and out. It is about getting through to the next World Cup and excelling,” he said.
“It would also be a little bit of vindication. It certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing through the 13 seasons I have been playing with Wales. So it would prove I have done OK in the jersey over the years.”
Biggar believes the opener in Dublin could set the tone for their entire campaign.
“It is so important how you start. It gives you momentum or adds pressure on you, depending on which way it goes. We must try and fire some shots ourselves and not absorb what Ireland throw at us,” he added.