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Edwards wary of expansive Ireland

Shaun Edwards accepts that Wales face "a big ask" defensively when try-hungry Ireland arrive at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Only title favourites England have scored more tries than Ireland in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship and Wales defence specialist Edwards believes Ireland will continue with their expansive approach as they look to maintain a remarkable record in Cardiff that shows just one defeat since 1983.

He said: "Ireland were red-hot in the first-half against Scotland, and they also scored three tries against France, which was an exceptional effort. While they struggled a bit with their handling in Italy, they still created a number of chances. They are playing expansive rugby and scoring tries."

Edwards added: "It will be a big ask for us defensively, but we feel we are up to the challenge. I am very happy with the way our defence has gone in the last couple of games.

"We have some real power-hitters, and we will have to up it a level against Ireland because they are scoring tries."

Both Wales and Ireland are still in title contention following two wins out of three, although the championship remains unbeaten England's to lose as they target Six Nations silverware and a first Grand Slam for eight years.

Wales coach Warren Gatland will name his team on Thursday, with James Hook likely to reclaim fly-half duties from Stephen Jones after partnering Jamie Roberts in the centre against Italy nine days ago.

Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies is back in training after missing the Italy game because of a hamstring injury, although full-back Lee Byrne is thought to have a minor ankle problem.


From Belfast Telegraph