Six Nations 2017: Shaun Edwards hopes bonus points do not mean 'basketball' rugby

Wales v Ireland in the 2015 Six Nations Championship
Wales' smothering defence was key in their 23-16 win over Ireland in the 2015 Six Nations
Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Date: Sunday, 5 February Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards does not want rugby's Six Nations Championship to become "like basketball" following the introduction of bonus points.

The former rugby league international suggests too many tries may spoil the spectacle.

"I'm not disrespecting sports like netball or basketball, where there's points scored very regularly," he said.

"I'd hate to think we'll get to a stage like that."

Edwards was credited with playing a major part in Wales' Six Nations Grand Slams of 2008 and 2012 and their championship win in 2013.

Their miserly defence conceded just two tries in the 2008 tournament, and three in each of the 2012 and 2013 editions.

Bonus points have been introduced for the first time this season, with a point for a team that scores four tries.

Edwards concedes fans want to see good attacking rugby.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations 2017: 'I didn't like you then, I don't like you now'

"When people come to watch rugby, they don't really want to watch the defence, they come to watch the attack and that's totally understandable." said Edwards.

"There's loads more tries being scored in world rugby, everything's going towards the attack as regards rules."

Edwards backs the plan to encourage attacking play, but does not accept a low scoring match is necessarily a dull one.

"The best game I watched over the Christmas period was Saracens [10-3 win] versus Toulon where there was only one try in the whole game," he said.

"It was a real hard, tough, tactical game of rugby" he said.

Tackle talk goes well

Edwards added Wales' session with international referee Nigel Owens to discuss the refereeing of tackles had gone well.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations 2017: Nigel Owens to guide Wales over high tackles

World Rugby's January 2017 directive has led to more yellow and red cars being issued for contact with the ball-carrier's head.

"Nigel was fantastic as usual, he explained a couple of areas where referees disagreed and what he feels will be the decisions in the Six Nations," said Edwards.

"You've never been allowed to smack somebody round the head, but now if you do it accidentally, you're probably going to get punished more harshly than before."

But former rugby league star Edwards hopes Wales will not be too badly affected by the refereeing.

"The target area's getting smaller and smaller," said Edwards.

"Maybe that's one of the reasons so many tries are being scored, who knows?"

Top Stories