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Wales looking to maintain momentum against Italy

Published 05/09/2015

Shaun Edwards feels Wakes could peak at just the right time
Shaun Edwards feels Wakes could peak at just the right time

Wales will go into their final World Cup warm-up game on Saturday hoping to build further momentum following last weekend's impressive win against reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Ireland.

Italy are their Millennium Stadium opponents in the last run out before Wales' opening Pool A appointment with Uruguay in Cardiff on September 20.

"We do want momentum going into the World Cup," Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards said.

"We are keeping fingers crossed with injuries - it would be a travesty to get someone injured so late - but you need match-practice, otherwise you are going to be undercooked going into what is a massive occasion, the World Cup.

"You have to be peaking in September or October. With a club team you can get off to a slow start but you can recover as the season goes on, but in this competition you can't."

Edwards, meanwhile, has hailed Wales boss Warren Gatland's impressive record of "peaking his teams at the right time" throughout a trophy-laden coaching career.

Wales have enjoyed considerable success under head coach Gatland, winning three Six Nations titles and two Grand Slams during his reign, in addition to reaching the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, which was Wales' best performance on a global stage since 1987.

Gatland also masterminded domestic and European triumphs for Wasps and Wales, although qualifying for the last-eight from a World Cup group that also includes England and Australia will represent one of his toughest assignments.

Edwards added: "Warren has had a great record over the years of peaking his teams at the right time, and that's not being boastful, just a fact.

"That has happened over his career, and we are hoping he is going to do the same this time.

"There are no guarantees, obviously, but we are hoping that we peak at the right time."

Gatland has made five changes from the side that defeated Ireland 16-10, with skipper Sam Warburton making his first start of the warm-up schedule, while there are also opportunities for centre Cory Allen, who partners Scott Williams in midfield, locks Jake Ball and Dominic Day, plus flanker James King.

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