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Mass celebration puts an even bigger smile on Shaun Edwards' face

Published 27/09/2015

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards attended church the morning after a stirring World Cup victory over host nation England
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards attended church the morning after a stirring World Cup victory over host nation England

Shaun Edwards enjoyed Sunday Mass with a difference as the feelgood factor generated by Wales' stunning World Cup win against England swept through the nation.

"We are all delighted," Wales assistant coach Edwards said, following a 28-25 victory that put Wales firmly on course for the quarter-finals.

"I went to Mass this morning, and even the priest came out and put his hands up in the air to celebrate. That is when you know you are making a difference to the nation.

"It's a church round the corner (from Wales' training base). My mum's brother is a priest, and I was an altar boy until I was 21. I was captaining Wigan, and I was still an altar boy!"

Wales opted to make the 130-mile journey from Twickenham back to the Vale Hotel in Hensol during the early hours of Sunday morning, arriving around 3am.

And head coach Warren Gatland has now given his players a couple of days off as the squad recharge batteries before building towards another huge World Cup confrontation against Fiji in Cardiff on Thursday.

"The players were restrained (on the bus) with Thursday coming up, but the management were quite lively, I've got to say," Edwards added.

"Particularly Paul Stridgeon (Wales' head of physical performance), who was at the front of the bus singing away and trying to do his own karaoke piece. It was a memorable trip home.

"A lot of the players live close by, and it's a big advantage for us for them go home for a night or two to be with their families and come back refreshed."

And reflecting on the Twickemham triumph, Wales wing George North said: "The M4 is never a nice place, but when you win like that, coming home is something special.

"How many times in your career will you be able to say you beat the (World Cup) host nation in their back garden?

"It's brilliant for us, As soon as we got on the bus we enjoyed the trip back, but all the boys started to focus on the task in hand, the short turnaround and making sure everyone is fit and well for Fiji on Thursday."

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