Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Origin influence for Wales

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards has praised his players' 'really good attitude'

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards has revealed he used New South Wales' hard-fought victory over Queensland in the second match of rugby league's State of Origin as motivation for his side ahead of Saturday's Test match with Australia.

NSW had suffered six successive Origin series defeats to Queensland and looked set for more disappointment after losing the opening match of this year's clash 18-10.

However, the Blues ensured the series would go to a third-match decider after battling back from a half-time deficit at ANZ Stadium eight days ago to claim a 16-12 victory.

Edwards felt there were similarities between the situation the Blues found themselves in and the one Wales did ahead of this weekend's match with the Wallabies in Melbourne.

Wales went in to the game 1-0 down in the three-Test series having lost 27-19 in Brisbane, and without a victory in Australia since 1969. Unfortunately for Wales, they still ended up on the losing side, but only after conceding a last-minute Mike Harris penalty, and Edwards had nothing but praise for the team's display.

"We did use the Blues' performance as a bit of a motivating factor because I mentioned to the guys that they were in a very similar situation to us," Edwards said.

"They were 1-0 down in a series in a competition they had no recent history of being hugely successful in and I just wanted the boys to come out with same sort of determination and intensity, skill factor and desire level that the Blues did.

"And I think I got that response. I thought it was a really, really good attitude and I couldn't have faulted the boys one iota."

Wales continued the cross-code theme on Monday, with several coaches and players heading to the SCG to watch the Sydney Swans AFL side train.

"Obviously the aerial side of the game in rugby is a huge part of the game nowadays, and I'll tell you straight, the hardest thing to defend is a lost aerial battle," Edwards said. "So anything you can pick up from experts in that area, which clearly teams like the Swans are, we're more than willing to do that."