Edwards wary of resurgent France
October 11, 2011
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards is expecting a strong showing from France © Getty Images
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards is expecting France to hit the ground running in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final, dismissing the idea that Les Bleus peaked with last weekend's win over England.
Marc Lievremont has named an unchanged side from the one that sent England packing only a week after a shock loss to Tonga in the final round of Pool matches.
France have lost three successive semi-finals on the global stage, but Edwards believes that their recent Six Nations form points to consistency.
"I've heard their coach say they have to overcome the obstacle of only having one big performance in them," Edwards said. "But if you look at France in the Six Nations over the last five or six years I think they have won it the most, which shows they have consistently performed over five games.
"It is in the France team to be consistent and they do have the ability to be consistent. There has been one standout performance - everyone talks about their victories over the All Blacks - can they back it up the week after? We'll find out on Saturday."
Wales have lost to France on six of their last seven meetings but Edwards believes Saturday's Eden Park showdown will be a "50-50" encounter.
"What has been part of our problem against France in the past is that we have harmed ourselves," Edwards said. "I remember in 2010 we gave two interceptions to them. In Paris we had a charge down that was pivotal in the game.
"We have to make sure that if France do get points against us they have to earn them. What we have tried to do throughout the competition is improve on every game. This will be no different. We will have to be even more accurate this weekend because it is the semi-final."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Hugh Godwin talks to France Sevens coach Frederic Pomarel about the controversial Olympics loophole that could lead to Steffon Armitage playing for Les Bleus
"If England flounder in the next World Cup the knives will be out - six-year contract or not." Tom Hamilton on the new contract for the England coaches
The All Blacks face their toughest task of the Rugby Championship at Ellis Park this weekend, writes Craig Dowd
With the deadline for World Cup ticket applications now over, Tom May outlines his hopes, gripes and wishes for next year's global gathering