Gareth Davies: Wales' intercept king ready to face mentor Shaun Edwards

Gareth Davies scores for Wales in their 2019 World Cup win over Australia
Gareth Davies scored an interception try to help Wales beat Australia at the 2019 World Cup
Guinness Six Nations: Wales v France
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

Gareth Davies hopes to be the apprentice beating the master when the Wales scrum-half is reunited with his former defensive mentor Shaun Edwards.

Edwards was Wales' defence coach for 12 years before leaving to join France in time for this year's Six Nations.

The two teams meet in Cardiff a week Saturday, with Davies looking to unlock a team marshalled by the man he credits with honing his trademark rush defence.

"Shaun is a world-class defence coach," says Davies.

"We were a little bit disappointed he left us but we've had Byron [Hayward] coming in and doing a great job.

"It's a big focus for us now leading up to the French game on how we can break that French defence down."

Davies became an influential figure in defence for Wales under Edwards.

One of the scrum-half's most important roles was to lead the Welsh line speed in defence - the process where teams rush towards opponents to limit their time and space.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Six Nations: Jenkins defends North

Davies did so particularly effectively and developed a reputation for scoring tries by intercepting opposition passes and sprinting clear.

One of his most notable such scores came in last September's thrilling World Cup win over Australia, anticipating and then catching a pass from opposite number Will Genia before running more than half the length of the field to touch down.

Davies has scored several similar tries for Wales and Scarlets, and Edwards had his imprint on them all.

"It was doing a lot of analysis work, seeing how different teams play," Davies explains.

"I'd have a couple of chats with him and he'd tell me what he'd expect the opposition to throw at us, so I could pop into the front line every now and again and try and pick a few passes off.

"He was right quite a lot of the time. I've had a couple of intercepts from the analysis work I used to do with him.

"I do a lot of that stuff myself now, so hopefully I can pick one off against the French."

That will be the aim for Wales at the Principality Stadium, where they have not lost to France since 2010.

Les Bleus will travel to Wales with more confidence than usual having started this Six Nations campaign with victories over England and Italy.

With Edwards in charge of their defence, the Welsh attack will at least know what to expect.

"Yeah, we sort of know what to expect but it is pretty hard to break down," Davies says.

"It's a good defensive policy he's got so we'll be doing a lot of work in training now and hopefully we can break that defence down."

Wales will also have their hands full defensively against a sparkling young French back line, led by their brilliant scrum-half Antoine Dupont.

"He's probably one of the most in-form players in the world," Davies adds.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence and seems to be making the right decisions all the time which is an important area for a scrum-half."

It remains to be seen who will be tasked with trying to shackle Dupont.

Davies missed Wales' opening win over Italy with an injury, while he had to settle for an appearance as a replacement during last weekend's defeat in Ireland.

Tomos Williams started both those matches, while Rhys Webb - a British and Irish Lion and once one of Wales' most important players - is now back in contention having previously been unavailable while playing for Toulon in France.

"From my point of view, whether it's club or international rugby, I've always had competition for my position so I'm used to it," says Davies.

"It's good to have competition, it keeps everyone on our toes. We've got to be performing day in, day out in training. Every session is very important.

"It's a good thing for Welsh rugby and for our squad to have so much depth in that position."

Top Stories