Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Edwards ready for key fortnight

Shaun Edwards is not giving up on the Six Nations title

Shaun Edwards insists Wales are braced for "two huge weeks" as the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions embark on a concerted title defence.

England's comfortably-superior points difference makes it a difficult scenario, even if Wales beat their arch-rivals in Cardiff on March 16. With Italy next on their agenda at Twickenham in six days' time, and Wales facing a testing Murrayfield clash against Scotland 24 hours earlier, the odds heavily favour England.

But Wales, buoyed by successive away victories over France and Italy, have at least put themselves in title contention, and Edwards said: "It's all systems go for two huge weeks."

He went on: "These lads have been absolutely fantastic over the last few years.

"Of the games I've been involved in in the Six Nations - and I honestly believe we are truly judged on the Six Nations - we've only lost one game in the last 11 (Edwards was suspended following an internal incident for the 2011 France Test that Wales lost 28-9). If we can make that one in 13, then that has got to be a pretty impressive record.

"I just think the whole of Wales comes alive in the Six Nations. That's not to say we don't want to go to Australia and win, but I do think the whole of Wales comes alive, Six Nations time.

"We started off slowly against Ireland, but the second-half of that game and the last two games, particularly from my department, have been as good as I could expect from a rugby team.

"We have only conceded three defensive points in two matches - the other points (12), have been scrum penalties.

"If we can continue in that form over the next two games, we are in with a chance."

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley is due to name his starting XV for Scotland on Tuesday, with two changes likely following a 26-9 win in Rome last time out. Prop Gethin Jenkins is battling to overcome a calf muscle injury - Bath's Paul James would be his replacement - while fit-again lock Alun-Wyn Jones could take over from Andrew Coombs.

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