Edwards calls for greater Welsh pace
June 4, 2012
Wales coach Shaun Edwards has experiece of winning in Australia from his days in rugby league © Getty Images
Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards believes that Wales will need to add extra pace to their game if they want to return from their three-Test tour to Australia with a series victory to their name.
Warren Gatland's side claimed a Six Nations grand slam with a game plan based on unleashing the pace and power of their backline, but Edwards says they need to find more if they are to defeat the Wallabies on their home turf.
"The Welsh statistics against any team in the southern hemisphere don't make good reading, especially away from home, and we have to go out and prove we are mentally strong enough to win down here," Edwards said. "But this team wants to make its own history and has no hang-ups about the statistics from the past. They are a little bit angry they haven't beaten Australia in the recent past."
Edwards knows first-hand what it takes to win in Australia and has been passing on his knowledge to the Welsh squad. He was part of the Wigan Rugby League side that went down under in 1994 and beat Brisbane Broncos to claim the World Club Crown.
"I've been telling them it will take 80 minutes of sustained intensity, sustained accuracy and sustained speed of the game to come out on top," he said. "It is about getting there a step quicker than we are used to doing. We have to realise it is a bit of a quicker game and we have to adjust to that extra pace. The Australians are very skilful and we can't afford to give them an inch."
Edwards led an advanced party of 16 players that left last Thursday to begin preparations for the first Test in Brisbane. A further 18 players left for Australia on Sunday following the 30-21 victory over the Barbarians in Cardiff on Saturday.
"If the whole team had arrived together this week we wouldn't have given ourselves any chance of winning at the weekend," Edwards said. "It takes a minimum of five days to fully overcome the effects of jet-lag. That's why we came over early - it was the only viable option. I still feel absolutely shattered at the moment and we won't be doing our first contact session until Tuesday. We also need to factor in the conditions, because even though it is winter here it will be quite warm. The humidity can really test your stamina and we have to be ready to react to that."
Wales play Australia in Brisbane on June 9, Melbourne on June 16 and Sydney on June 23.
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