Wales: Shaun Edwards expects Nothing But Rugby World Cup semi-final spot

Defense coach Shaun Edwards says he will be “unbelievably disappointed” if Wales do not at least emulate their 2011 World Cup semi-final place.

After beating Georgia and Australia in Pool D, Wales face Fiji on 9 October and Uruguay four days later.

Wins in these two group matches and a quarter-final victory against the Pool C runners-up will take Wales to a semi-final – Edwards’ minimum target.

“If we don’t win our next three, I will be unbelievably disappointed,” he said.

“If you do win your next three, you are in the semi-finals and we are back to where we were in 2011.”

Everyone knows

Wales will clinch quarter-final qualification if they defeat Fiji in Oita next Wednesday, while England, Argentina, and France are contesting Pool C.

It will be Fiji’s final group game in a topsy-turvy tournament where they have run Australia close, suffered a shock loss to Uruguay and demonstrated their attacking threats with an emphatic 45-6 win over Georgia on Thursday.

That performance especially impressed Edwards.

“They were outstanding,” he said. “The first phase moves, they look incredibly well organized and well-coached.

“Everybody knows about their X-factor that Fiji teams have always had, but now they also have a great organization.

“Some of their tricky plays around line-outs and starter plays from scrums, with the athletes they have, are very difficult to defend against.

“They are one of the teams you don’t want to break structure too much against.

“We are under no illusions about what they’ll bring. Their set-piece is very good too. I thought their scrum in the game against Georgia was excellent.”


Edwards says Wales hopes to have fly-half Dan Biggar available after he failed a head injury assessment having left the field against Australia.

“He is back in training,” confirmed Edwards.

“He is tough as old boots and an incredible player and it would have to be a serious injury to keep him off the training pitch.”

Biggar was replaced by Rhys Patchell who produced a composed 14-point kicking performance in the 29-25 victory.


Patchell also impressed Edwards defensively with the Scarlets fly-half involved in a controversial incident when he attempted to tackle Australia center Samu Kerevi.

The Wallabies back was penalized for a forearm in the face of tackler Patchell, a decision Australia captain Michael Hooper disputed with French referee Romain Poite.

Hooper described Patchell’s technique as poor, but Edwards said the Wales player had been asked to adapt.

“Rhys did what we asked of him,” said Edwards.

“We asked him to tackle higher than what he has been tackling, to go in and create the collision and he did that.

“That [opinion] is up to Michael Hooper. He is entitled to his opinion as is everyone else in the world.”

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