James Hook explains why he believes Wales must start with Dan Biggar against England

James Hook has called for Dan Biggar to retain the Wales fly-half jersey against England.

Wayne Pivac’s decision to take off experienced half-back pair Biggar and Gareth Davies just 48 minutes into the Scotland match paid off, replacements Callum Sheedy and Kieran Hardy helping Wales overturn a 17-8 deficit to secure a second Six Nations win.

Despite the positive reception to Pivac’s bold decision, former Wales and Lions star Hook is calling for his old Ospreys team-mate Biggar to keep hold of the No. 10 jersey to face England on February 27.

Appearing on Brian Moore’s Full Contact podcast, Hook – who retired in 2020 – said: “It was a big call by Pivac and the coaching staff to change the half-backs after 50 minutes but something needed to be done.

“We were down by a fair bit at that point and in that space of between 50 and 55 minutes there was a red card, we changed the half-backs and scored a very good try, and that’s probably when the momentum swung.

“They did really well, the half-backs that came on.

“I thought they did sort of up the tempo of the game, but I think to go in with them and start against England – particularly if Leigh Halfpenny is out, you’ll probably shuffle Liam Williams at full-back – we’ll have a strong back-three but we haven’t got a recognised goal-kicker then.

“I think Sheedy is a better attacker than Biggar but his goal-kicking and kicking in general is probably not up to Biggar’s standards

“So I think you’d start with Biggar again, and probably Gareth Davies or Hardy, it wouldn’t really bother me either, at scrum half.”

Hook said Pivac knows after Scotland that if the game isn’t going well against England, he could send on Sheedy again early in the second-half to try to impact it.

After facing England at the Principality Stadium, Wales’ Six Nations campaign then rounds off with two away trips to face Italy and then France in the tournament finale.

“For Wales, and most teams, momentum is massive. We’ve got two victories – I’m not sure how, really – we go into the England game at home going for a Triple Crown,” said Hook.

“England, as we all know, they’ve come under a little bit of criticism. They were a lot better against Italy but I think we can match them.

“England have got some quality backs, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to be clicking one way or another. It’ll be a great game.”


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