Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Extra pace key Down Under - Edwards

Shaun Edwards believes Wales need to inject more pace into their game
Shaun Edwards believes Wales need to inject more pace into their game

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has warned his players they will have to speed up the game that earned them a third Grand Slam in eight years if they are to keep pace with Australia over the next three weeks.

Edwards led the advance guard of 16 players to Brisbane over the weekend to prepare for the three-Test series this month and has been letting the players know what he feels it will take to pick up a first win over a southern-hemisphere side away from home in 25 years.

"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.

"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.

"It is about getting there a step quicker than we are used to doing and 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."

Having eased Grand Slam skipper Sam Warburton and his team-mates into action with a few swim sessions and light runs, Edwards took the players to leading local club Brothers in Brisbane for some gentle opposed practice on Monday.

The rest of the squad arrive with stand-in coach Rob Howley in the early hours of Tuesday. The combined squad will have its first run-out on Wednesday.

Having been to Australia many times in his rugby league career, including a year spent playing for Balmain Tigers in Brisbane, Edwards knows all about the difficulties of overcoming of jet-lag.

"If the whole team had arrived together this week we wouldn't have given ourselves any chance of winning at the weekend," he added. "It takes a minimum of five days to fully overcome the effects of jet-lag."

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