Wales have to 'shut down' Barrett and SBW

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:09

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards admits he has one of the toughest jobs in sport this week as he attempts to devise a plan which will shut down the New Zealand attack.

Wales take on the All Blacks this Saturday at Principality Stadium fully aware they will face the most formidable side in rugby today.

Wales' last win over the All Blacks was back in 1953.

However, defence coach Edwards admits that Scotland's narrow 17-22 defeat to the All Blacks has provided him with crucial tips for Saturday's encounter.

"Let's be honest, I have got a pretty tough job this week, probably one of the toughest jobs in world sport to be the defence coach against the All Blacks," said rugby league great Edwards.

"But you know me, I am up for a challenge. Hopefully, on Saturday we can put pressure on through our line speed, but there is a lot more to defend than just having line speed. There are a lot of different aspects to it.

"One of them is what Scotland did very well. They held the ball for 60 percent of the time. They had 60 percent territory and 60 percent possession.

"If we can do that, I will be very happy. Even though the All Blacks only had 40 percent possession, they still scored three tries and were still very dangerous, but obviously starving them of the ball is one way of keeping their attack quiet,"

Two players who Wales will have to contain on Saturday will be star centre Sonny Bill Williams and world player of the year Beauden Barrett.

"The All Blacks have got two very powerful centres and your style of play is generally designed by who your centres are," said Edwards.

"The flyhalf can score tries from 80 metres, he's that fast, Beauden Barrett. He is a sensational player.

"I've known Sonny Bill for many years and since he was coming on the scene as a 19 or 20-year-old. He was destined for greatness and he has achieved everything that we all knew he would do,"

Edwards is nonetheless confident Wales can stop the world champions in their tracks.

"When I was playing for Wigan I was five foot eight, 12 stone, and I was lucky enough to get in rugby league's hall of fame," said Edwards.

"That was against the odds and hopefully in my coaching career, I can pass on that sort of determination and attitude. Hopefully, we can put our best foot forward on Saturday,"

Source: @welshrugbyunion