Six Nations 2014: Shaun Edwards plans another red wall to block England

 

Wales are aiming to clinch a fourth win in a row over England for the first time in 25 years at Twickenham this weekend. And, of all the members of the reigning Six Nations champions' set-up, it is Wigan-born Shaun Edwards who has done as much as any Welshman to mastermind their recent dominance over their arch rivals.

It is close to five hours of rugby since England last scored a try past Edwards' red brick wall, when Manu Tuilagi celebrated his international debut with a touchdown in the pre-World Cup friendly, at Twickenham, back in August 2011. Little wonder that Stuart Lancaster is so keen to have the centre back on board for this Sunday's pivotal match.

Wales have set new standards under Edwards, having broken records for the fewest points or tries conceded in the process of winning three championships in five years. A fortnight ago they shut out France for a fourth successive game; this weekend, they aim to do the same to England.

"We have one of the best defensive coaches in the world in Shaun and it's something we actually enjoy and pride ourselves on. A good defence wins championships," said outside-half Rhys Priestland.

"We haven't conceded a try against England for the last three games and we aim to make it four. But they are the in-form team and have dangerous strike-runners so it's a massive challenge."

Wales stuttered against Italy and failed in Dublin but re-emerged with a display worthy of champions against France. Yet England remain the scalp they treasure most, not least as they aim to clinch a fourth win in a row for the first time since 1989.

"Wales versus England sends shivers down the spine and I'm sure the English lads feel the same," said Edwards. "My background has nothing to do with the way I go about my job. I'm just coaching against an opponent and my job from the boss is to keep their points tally down.

"I'm lucky as a coach that I have a group of players who don't just switch on when we have possession, but have the same enthusiasm when the opposition have the ball. In fact there are some guys like Dan Lydiate and Gethin Jenkins who prefer not to have the ball."

No one need tell Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb what this game means to the Welsh public. This time last year, the 25-year-old was part of the crowd celebrating the historic 30-3 victory in the pubs and clubs of Cardiff. Now he hopes to be one of the protagonists at Twickenham.

"Everyone in Wales grows up with the rivalry against England. My first memory is watching Scott Gibbs score at Wembley in 1999," said Webb. "We know what the supporters are like but we have to try and stay calm and try to treat it as another game."

Webb managed to do that on his full debut against France after Mike Phillips was dropped for losing his head, as well as the game, in Dublin. Warren Gatland now has a dilemma, though Phillips' experience could win out.

Jonathan Davies and Alun Wyn Jones have both returned to training following injuries and are both set to be named by Gatland on Wednesday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea