Shaun Edwards backs Wales to reach semi-finals

Date published: October 4 2019 - David Skippers

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards is backing the team to do well at the Rugby World Cup and is confident they will reach the tournament’s semi-finals.

After beating Georgia and Wales in their first two matches, Wales are favoured to finish at the top of Pool D’s standings and Edwards said he will be “unbelievably disappointed” if they do not advance to the last four stage – at least.

Wales’ remaining pool matches are against Fiji on October 9 and Uruguay four days later.

Pool D’s winners look set to play either France or Argentina in the quarter-finals if England finish at the top of Pool C.

“If we don’t win our next three (games) I will be unbelievably disappointed,” said Edwards.

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

Edwards believes Wales can improve on their efforts in beating Georgia and Australia, where they had to withstand a fierce second-half onslaught from the Wallabies.

“I was pleased with some parts of the defence, but we are yet to put in an 80-minute performance defensively,” he said.

“Hopefully we are going to get better as the competition goes on. That’s always our aim.

“We did not have a ruck between 43 and 69 minutes so we were obviously on the back foot defending all the time.

“The way the game is at the moment there have never been as many points scored in rugby union with all the law changes.

“I am not saying that’s a bad thing, fans want to see some tries, don’t they? It’s very difficult to defend for that length of period and it’s credit to our fitness staff for the preparations the boys have been put through.

“If we had not been so fit we would have succumbed (against Australia) because we would have been under so much pressure.”

Wales reached the Rugby World Cup’s semi-finals at the inaugural tournament in 1987, when they suffered a heavy 49-6 defeat to eventual winners New Zealand, and also in 2011 when they lost 9-8 to France.