England in driving seat, admits Shaun Edwards
WALES defence coach Shaun Edwards has conceded the Six Nations title has probably already been won by England with two games left to play.
Edwards’ side kick off against a rejuvenated Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday nearly 24 hours before England’s home clash with Italy gets under way at Twickenham.
Wales trail unbeaten England by two points and a scoring difference of 17, the two meeting in Cardiff on March 16, the tournament’s final weekend.
The visitors on that day will be almost certain to arrive looking to claim their first Grand Slam since the year they also won the World Cup in 2003.
If ever there was a banker bet then Sunday’s game must be it with England 1/100 to beat Italy, while you can get 40/1 on the Azzurri pulling off the biggest upset in the competition’s history.
Wales, who lost their opening Six Nations showdown against Ireland, will have to beat Scotland by at least a similar margin to the large score England are likely to rack up against Italy to stand any chance of winning the competition.
If that were to happen, it would set up a mouth-watering winner takes all scenario at the Millennium Stadium but Edwards wasn’t buying into any of it at a press conference yesterday.
While Wales are strong favourites (8/15) to beat Scotland (15/8) this weekend, ex-Great Britain and Wigan rugby league superstar Edwards stressed how he holds their opponents in high esteem.
“I personally think it would be very disrespectful to Scotland to even think about trying to put a number of points on them,” he said. “We are in a situation where we just want to win our next two games really. Obviously if that leads us to a title, to help our points difference over England.
“But let’s be honest, when you’ve got three homes games, as we had last year, if we had lost the last game against France, we would have won the championship because you have the preferred three home games.
“There’s no doubt at the moment, you would have to say, that England’s points difference is in a healthy position.”
Edwards also refused to get embroiled into a war of words with Scotland’s interim head coach Scott Johnson who claims to know exactly what to expect from Wales on Saturday and declared that they “haven't done anything different for five years.”
Edwards said: “Scott’s a competitor like I am and people like him are good for the game because they get newspaper space, particularly in Scotland where you get Celtic and Rangers and football being very dominant,” he said.
“We need characters in rugby and Scott’s definitely a character, isn’t he?
“I’m very happy he has said that because I’ve won ten games out of my last 11 in the Six Nations (with Wales) so I’m quite pleased with that. We’ll continue with that. Thank you very much Scott. It’s very nice of him to say that.”