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Shaun Edwards plays down significance of Wales' winning run against Scotland

Published 12/02/2016

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards is wary of Scotland's threat in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash
Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards is wary of Scotland's threat in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash

Shaun Edwards claims Wales' long run of unbroken success against Scotland "means nothing" going into Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash at the Principality Stadium.

Wales have not lost to the Scots during head coach Warren Gatland's reign, winning eight successive Tests, while Scotland's last victory in Cardiff came 14 years ago.

When they last visited the Welsh capital in 2014, full-back Stuart Hogg was sent off after just 22 minutes and Scotland crashed to a record 51-3 defeat.

"Every game is a different entity," Wales assistant coach Edwards said. "The fact that we've won our last eight means nothing, come tomorrow.

"We have a lot of respect for Scotland - they bring the best out of us. The teams that bring the best out of you are the teams that you know can hurt you.

"You have to be switched on in defence and be ready. One year, they came down and they were the better team, but we've done okay since then.

"Scotland have agreed to have the (stadium) roof closed, which shows they want to come and play rugby as well, and I am pretty sure it's going to be an exciting game."

Both Wales and Scotland made World Cup quarter-final exits earlier this season but Edwards added: "If you look at the two teams, we were both one refereeing decision away from being in the semi-finals.

"(South Africa wing) Bryan Habana was offside at the ruck that created the last scrum (against Wales), which they scored off. We didn't mention it at the time because we didn't think it was the right thing to do.

"Bryan was halfway up the ruck when he counter-drove for the scrum that created the last try.

"You're looking at two teams who would have been in the semi-finals of the World Cup, but one refereeing decision didn't go our way.

"So I've got massive respect for Scotland - they should have been in the semi-finals of the World Cup."

Edwards described Wales' pre-match mood as "determined, very determined" and they know four successive wins are now realistically required following last Sunday's 16-16 draw against Ireland in their quest for a fourth Six Nations title since Gatland took charge.

"It's still in our hands, that is what's good about it," he said.

"If we had lost (against Ireland), then you have to rely on other teams to lose. If Ireland win every game, then we will have to beat them on points difference, but it's still in our hands. There is no risk of complacency whatsoever."

Wales hooker Scott Baldwin added: "You just go to win every game, like the World Cup.

"We have four games left, and if we win those four games and Ireland do also, it will go down to the same (points difference) as we did last year.

"We have to go out with the mentality of 'if we win the rest of the games, we win the championship'."

Edwards, meanwhile, responded in straight-talking fashion to former Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips, who claimed in a national newspaper column on Friday that Wales' management needed to "chill out" during training.

Phillips, who retired from Test rugby earlier this season but still plays for French club Racing 92, claimed pressure from the coaches "can stop the players from expressing themselves," adding in the Daily Mail: "Training with Wales can be very, very intense.

"If there is a small mistake, one of the coaches will always blow up. Sometimes it's a bit over the top, and you just think: 'Chill out. It's one dropped ball. It's not the end of the world'."

Asked about Phillips' comments on Friday, Edwards said: "I think Mike has probably been in France a bit too long, hasn't he?

"They don't really train much over there, do they? We train intensely, we put pressure on players, and that's where we feel they improve. I think our record speaks for itself.

"They (Phillips' former club Bayonne) aren't the best team in the world, are they? Let's be honest. I think we will stick our record up against Bayonne's coaching staff any day of the week."

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