Wales vs Fiji: Shaun Edwards wants more attack in the Welsh defence

Defence coach wants Wales to be less ‘passive’ against Fiji in Cardiff today

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The Independent Online

Wales intend to give a more aggressive display in defence today as they attempt to keep Fiji’s renowned runners on the back foot.

Fiji have claimed a win and a draw in their last three Tests against Wales, who are on the rebound from a 33-28 defeat against Australia last Saturday, a frustrating result given that the Wallabies were outscored 4-3 on tries. Australia’s tactical composure in the closing stages proved decisive as fly-half Bernard Foley guided them to a 10th successive win over Wales by kicking a drop goal and penalty.

“We were passive in the build-up to the drop goal,” said the Wales defence coach, Shaun Edwards. “We defended for 22 phases, which in itself is good defence, but we pride ourselves on our attacking style of defence and actually trying to take yardage off the opposition.

“We probably conceded 18 to 20 yards in 22 phases, which equates to about a yard every phase, which is something we have definitely been working on more this week. We’ve been working on blasting hard off the line and really dominating those collisions.

“[Fiji] have got some big powerful lads, who will try to blast over the advantage line, and it is vital that we meet them as much as we can on our terms, not their terms.”

Edwards, though, has no qualms about Wales’ general defensive shape, one that was moulded by centre Jamie Roberts’ outstanding efforts in repelling Australia’s attack six days ago. “I thought our structure was really good – as good as it’s ever been against Australia,” Edwards added.

“The year before, we were chasing shadows at times when Australia had the ball. This year, we were a lot more in control.”

Wales L Williams; Cuthbert, S Williams, Roberts, North; Priestland, M Phillips; Jenkins (capt), Baldwin, Lee, Davies, Charteris, Lydiate, Tipuric, Faletau. Replacements E Phillips, Smith, R Jones, A W Jones, King, R Williams, Hook, Allen. Fiji Talebula; Nayacalevu, Goneva, Nadolo, Tikoirotuma; Matavesi, Matawalu; Ma’afu, Koto, Saulo, Nakarawa, Ratuniyarawa, Waqaniburotu, Matadigo, Qera (capt). Replacements Talemaitoga, Yanuyanutawa, Colati, Cavubati, Ravulo, Seniloli, Ralulu, Nagusa.