Dan Biggar has admitted that matches in the Gallagher Premiership are played at a much greater intensity than matches in the Guinness Pro14.
The experienced Wales fly-half joined Northampton Saints in 2018 after 11 years with the Ospreys, and has learnt some harsh truths since joining the Premiership club.
Biggar was speaking to RugbyPass‘ All Access podcast and revealed that while the talent isn’t necessarily of a higher standard in the Premiership than the Pro14, the intensity in England is far greater.
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“I don’t think the quality is perhaps better, but what you get every single week is an occasion or a must-win game or a game that can go either way,” Biggar explained.
“You look at the results there have been this year and literally everyone can beat everyone in this league. Obviously without covid, it’s like it’s the circus in town really.
“Especially for Northampton, it’s in the middle of town and you’ve got 13 or 14 thousand every week. It’s just the intensity week in, week out blows the PRO14 out of the water if I’m honest with you.
“And that’s not saying that the quality is any better but week in, week out game after game the intensity and having to be 100 percent on your game to pick up something each week compared to the PRO14 is miles apart if I’m honest.”
The Pro14’s lack of competition
The Pro14 has struggled to be a competitive tournament in recent years, with Leinster claiming their fourth consecutive title by beating Munster in the final a couple of weeks ago.
The Irish provinces have often been the strongest teams over the course of the league’s history, but the gap between them and their Welsh, Scottish and Italian rivals has widened recently.
The top two places in each conference were all occupied by Irish sides this season, with a whopping 28 points separating Ulster and Ospreys in Conference A of the Pro14.
The introduction of the four former Super Rugby South African sides will surely add some much-needed competition and intensity to the Pro14, but the performances of the Welsh, Scottish and Italian sides will continue to be a worry.