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?
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn