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Dan Biggar will improve with Wales captaincy, says Wayne Pivac

Wayne Pivac believes that the Wales captaincy will further strengthen Dan Biggar’s game.

Northampton fly-half Biggar leads Wales for the first time in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Ireland.

He takes the reins from Alun Wyn Jones, who is absent through injury along with fellow British and Irish Lions like George North, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Josh Navidi.

And it could hardly be a tougher assignment for the 32-year-old as Wales go in search of a first Six Nations win at the Aviva Stadium since 2012.

But he can call on the experience of 95 Wales caps as the reigning Six Nations champions target a successful launch of their title defence.

“He is going really well,” Wales head coach Pivac said.

“He has always been in our leadership group, so not a lot has changed off the field. It’s just really some of the chats and discussions with the players at the end of training sessions, that sort of thing.

“He has been around a long time – 95 Tests – and he is our most experienced player (in the starting line-up), so when he speaks, it makes sense.

“The big one is going to be in the heat of battle, how we manage ourselves and the referee, and vice-versa.

“He is really looking forward to the challenge. I am fully confident it will only improve his game.

“When we discussed the captaincy, the big thing was Dan didn’t want to change and I didn’t want him to change in terms of the way he plays the game.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac
Wales boss Wayne Pivac has no doubt about Dan Biggar’s captaincy credentials (David Davies/PA)

“It is just understanding now that it’s picking your moments when you are having conversations with the referee, and it has to be on the referee’s terms.

“We have to make sure we are listening to what is being said so we can take instructions on board.

“That is one of the roles as captain, to make sure we get things right and don’t make the same mistakes.

“It is really important he has a good rapport with the referees. I am confident that he will have a great rapport.”

Despite Wales going into the tournament as holders, they are only fourth favourites for silverware behind France, England and Ireland.

A lengthy injury list is undoubtedly a factor, but victory in Dublin would see their odds slashed.

Pivac added: “A lot of the team that won that competition won’t be there in Dublin. But the guys who will be there we believe will represent us really well.

“Where we are with the bookies, we are probably in the same position as we were last year.

“We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. That is the attitude – going out there and expressing ourselves.”

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