Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Edwards seeks Wales improvement

Assistant coach Shaun Edwards believes Wales did not have enough preparation time before their heavy defeat to South Africa

Wales will go back to basics this week as they attempt to right the wrongs of their first Test horror show against South Africa.

The five-try 38-16 hiding at Kings Park in Durban has led to plenty of soul-searching within the Welsh camp, after their confidence in the build-up was blasted to smithereens by their clinical hosts.

But there remains the chance to put matters right when the second Test takes place in Nelspruit on Saturday.

And assistant coach Shaun Edwards admits Wales have had to strip their game back down to the nuts and bolts in order to ensure there is no repeat this time round.

He said: "There has been a very positive reaction in training, we have had to work on going back to basics, particularly in defence, working on our line speed and putting pressure on their big ball-carriers.

"We know the geography of the game cannot be the same. They are the biggest, most powerful team in the world and no team can hold them out when they have nine minutes in your 22.

"Also, we hadn't really trained together as a team before Saturday. I hadn't seen Jonathan Davies for three months, except for the trial game.

"Jamie Roberts and Jonathan, our first-choice centre pairing, have only played together for 40 minutes since the Six Nations. Is it an excuse? Probably a little bit, but it's a reason. We've been able to get some hard work in this week and hopefully we can get back to speed."

Wales had hoped a pre-tour trial fixture would ensure their senior players were up to speed ahead of facing the Springboks.

But lock Luke Charteris believes it did not make up for a five-week gap in competitive action experienced by many of the squad as a result of not reaching the play-off stages in their respective club competitions.

He said: "The boys have not played for a while. I know we had that trial game but some guys only played 40 minutes or 50 minutes.

"Having that as one game in six weeks is not the same as playing Super Rugby week in and week out like South Africa's players have.

"Unfortunately that is the way it goes with the play-off system in England, France or the Pro 12.

"If your team does not reach the play-offs you are finishing four of five weeks before everyone else..

"You can do as much training or conditioning as you want but there is no substitute for playing. That is not the sole reason we lost but that is why we struggled to live with the intensity."

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