Wales' big names under threat, warns Shaun Edwards
SHAUN Edwards has warned Wales’ senior players their international careers could be on the line if they don’t buck up their ideas against France this weekend.
The tough talking Wigan and Great Britain rugby league legend was pulling no punches at a tense press conference yesterday.
Wales’ defence coach was his usual forthright and no nonsense self as he confronted a room full of journalists firing off some difficult questions after Saturday’s 30-22 defeat at home to Ireland.
The mood in Wales is not good after the national team lost their eighth game on the trot, opening their Six Nations campaign in disastrous fashion.
Everyone wants answers as to why this side has gone from Grand Slam champs to chumps in the last 11 months.
Wales are without a meaningful win for nearly a year, the hollow victory over the Barbarians in June an irrelevance.
Speaking about selection ahead of Wales’ tough mission to Paris on Saturday, Edwards said: “Everyone will be nervous and that is the way it should be in international rugby.
“Even the experienced players should know they are two bad games away from being in jeopardy.
“It should be like that with the All Blacks, and any international team around the world.”
Edwards said the side have to play consistently well for the entire game.
Wales resembled a rabble in the first 40 minutes against the Irish and trailed by 20 points at the interval before going 30-3 behind early in the second-half.
The hosts then dominated the last 35 minutes and could have staged a remarkable comeback similar to the one they pulled off against Scotland in 2010.
But they left themselves far too big a mountain to climb.
Edwards believes it might have been different had they been as clinical as Ireland.
“We left three tries out there and it could have been like it was against Scotland two or three years ago,” he said.
“We could have scored six tries against a good Irish team.
“It could have ended more points to us than it could have for them.
“I thought our offensive game was amazing in the second half but we know we have to do it for 80 minutes.
“It was the turnovers which killed us and a few scrum decisions that went against us.”
France captain Pascal Pape will miss Saturday’s clash with Wales after suffering a lower back injury in Sunday’s defeat in Italy.
Pape limped off during the second half of Les Bleus’ 23-18 loss at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico and has been withdrawn from the squad for this weekend’s Stade de France encounter, with Toulon lock Jocelino Suta called up to replace him.
No announcement was made on the likely duration of Pape’s absence but France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said: “I can tell already that Pascal Pape will be absent against Wales. He suffers from sciatica.”