France a must-win game – Edwards

Date published: February 13 2014

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards says his side can afford no further slip-ups if they are to reclaim the Six Nations title in 2014.

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards believes his side can afford no further slip-ups if they are to stand any chance of defending their Six Nations title.

Wales began their campaign with a narrow win over Italy, but last weekend's 26-3 loss to Ireland in Dublin has undermined their hopes of recording an unprecedented third consecutive tournament success.

Warren Gatland's side face France at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff a week on Friday and Edwards says that the players are determined to flush the defeat in Dublin out of their systems.

“It's going to be a big game. Obviously we are all disappointed with the performance last week, but we are still in the hunt,” Edwards said.

“We know the France game is a must-win game for us if we are to retain our title. We went to Ireland having lost only one of the last 11 Six Nations games and not lost away for two years in the competition, so to lose by a score of that size was incredibly disappointing.

“We learnt last year that you don't have to win every game to win the Six Nations, but we also know that points difference is so important in this competition.

“It wasn't a nice feeling to lose that way and the margin of loss was added to by the fact we were trying to win the game.

“If we would have tried to scrap a close loss that would have probably been better for us in the championship, but our mindset is to try and win games.”

France remain on course for the Grand Slam after consecutive victories against England and Italy, and Edwards believes that Philippe Saint-Andre's side will draw encouragement from Wales's loss to the Irish.

“Ireland took us on through the middle and it is something I expect France to try and do the same,” he said.

“France are very strong through the forwards and if we can win the battle on the advantage line and stop their maul, we will be in with a big chance.

“There is no doubt going into the championship after a (British and Irish) Lions tour, the stats say France have a pretty good chance of winning it. We have to try and prevent that from happening and that begins a week on Friday.”