Wales fly-half Dan Biggar is an unbelievable competitor – Rhys Patchell
Rhys Patchell has described fellow Wales fly-half Dan Biggar as “an unbelievable competitor” after they combined to help sink World Cup rivals Australia.
Patchell kicked Wales to victory with a 14-point haul after replacing Biggar, who failed a head injury assessment (HIA) following a try-saving tackle on juggernaut Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi.
Wales’ 29-25 success – their first World Cup win against Australia for 32 years – put them firmly in control of Pool D and on course for a potential quarter-final appointment with France or Argentina.
“Dan is awesome,” Patchell said.
“He takes a lot of heat in the press for whatever reason, but it’s only when you are around him on a day-to-day basis what an unbelievable competitor he is and how much he wants to win.
“Fair play, that was a real act of bravery on our line. He flew into Kerevi. We were thinking that maybe here is a try, and then he comes in with that tackle.”
Biggar will go through the required HIA protocols, and Wales have nine days until their next game against Fiji in Oita.
The squad arrived at their Lake Biwa base in Otsu on Monday from Tokyo, where they will begin preparations for the next stage of their pool campaign later this week.
Reflecting on the Australia success, Patchell added: “It was great to be out there and great to be able to help out in what was a massive squad effort.
“We said we needed a big performance. It is good that we went to the wire with them and came out the right side of the ledger.
“We have put ourselves in a good position, but there are two games still to go in the group, and it’s important that we rest up properly, recover properly and prepare correctly for Fiji.
“It (Australia) was a job well done in terms of getting the result, but it doesn’t count for anything if we don’t back it up against Fiji.”
Wales held off a spectacular Wallabies fightback at Tokyo Stadium, with Australia almost wiping out an 18-point deficit before a late Patchell penalty sealed the deal.
Wales forward Aaron Shingler is also a regional team-mate of Patchell’s at the Scarlets, and he was not surprised by his performance.
“He would say himself he was probably behind in the pecking order coming into the World Cup with (Gareth) Anscombe and (Dan) Biggar one and two,” Shingler said.
“He got his opportunity and delivered. I’ve seen that plenty of times before, and it was great to see him starring in that number 10 spot.”
Reflecting on events, Shingler added: “The boys that started are a bit battered and bruised. There was great excitement in the group after we got the win.
“On the bus journey back from the ground, there was some good banter, a good feeling.
“The boys had a quiet few beers then and relaxed, had a bit of food and went to bed as normal. Waking up this morning there was a great buzz in the camp.”
And wing Josh Adams said: “It seems we’ve always drawn Australia in World Cups gone by, and always lost narrowly, so it’s brilliant to get one over on them….32 years – we were due one.
“We will have some well-deserved rest as the boys were shattered coming off that pitch. Then we will look at Fiji.”