Rugby World Cup 2015: Defence could be decisive - Edwards

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Wales Sport
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards
Shaun Edwards says Wales have worked specifically on defending against players with "tricky feet"
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England Dates: 18 September-31 October
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Wales' Rugby World Cup pool could be decided by the best defence, according to assistant coach Shaun Edwards.

Wales begin their campaign against Uruguay on Sunday, before facing England, Fiji and Australia.

Defence coach Edwards believes points difference could have a major bearing on which two teams qualify for the quarter-finals.

"It's a big test for us in defence, particularly as the first game after Uruguay is the England game," he said.

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"They have scored the most points in the last two Six Nations, so we are playing against a very potent attacking team who can hit you in all ways.

"The last three Six Nations have been decided on points difference and which teams have conceded the least points, so the defence is very important.

"With such potent attacking talents coming through, there is going to be a lot of tries scored."

Fancy footwork

Hosts England will get the World Cup underway when they face Fiji on Friday, and Stuart Lancaster's men take on Wales eight days later.

Wales have lost their last two matches against their arch-rivals and Edwards says they have taken a specific approach in training to prepare for England's attacking threats.

Wales' Aaron Jarvis and Gethin Jenkins tackle Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip
Wales put in a huge defensive effort against Ireland in last season's Six Nations victory, making 250 tackles to 105 by their opponents

"England's backs have fantastic footwork, so I won't hide the fact we have been practicing a lot against guys with really good feet and that sort of player," Edwards added.

"We have been practising with our own guys and we have got good feet with people like Hallam Amos.

"We have a lot of big backs and powerful guys who, if you run pretty much straight at them, I am confident our guys will be able to tackle you.

"That's why we have been working on all aspects of the defence, either head-on or people with tricky feet and the English players are very good in this department."

'Unpredictable' Uruguay

Wales' opening fixture of the tournament pits them against Pool A minnows Uruguay, who lost 111-13 to England when they last appeared at a World Cup in 2003 and are a squad of mostly amateur players.

Asked what the South Americans' biggest threat will be, Edwards said: "It is probably their unpredictability.

"Their players are not household names so it's really important we don't underestimate them in any way, and we just need to concentrate on our own performance.

"That unpredictability is unusual because you are playing against players you are not normally playing against. We have footage of them and the lads have been looking at it."

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