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Edwards relishing France battle

Shaun Edwards has predicted a battle between two "pumped up" teams next Saturday when Wales and France look to revive their RBS 6 Nations campaigns after opening weekend collapses.

Wales' 30-22 defeat against Ireland was not only their eighth successive defeat, it also dropped them one place to 10th in the latest International Rugby Board world rankings. Italy, memorable conquerors of France on Sunday, climbed above Wales as a result, with Scotland now the only Six Nations team ranked below the reigning champions.

"We need to get to France with our A game, to get back to our A game for the full 80 minutes," Wales assistant coach and defence specialist Edwards said. "If we do that, we've got a chance. They will be pretty pumped up for it on Saturday, but so will we."

Despite staging an admirable second-half response from being 30-3 adrift against Ireland, Wales were ultimately punished for a dreadful opening 30 minutes at the Millennium Stadium when mistakes abounded and their dominant opponents made hay in the winter sunshine.

"It just proved that this game is all about field position," Edwards added. "In the second half, we had all the field position and we scored three tries.

"There were a lot of tries scored in the Six Nations at the weekend. Everyone seems to be scoring tries and everyone seems to be conceding them.

"Clearly, it is good for the paying public, but not too good for us defensive coaches."

There is, though, some overdue positive news on the injury front, with Ospreys forwards Ryan Jones (thumb) and Richard Hibbard (shoulder) now available for selection, while flanker Aaron Shingler (rib) is also expected to be fit.


From Belfast Telegraph