Wales aim to shape up against Fiji

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Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Wales will target an aggressive and offensive display in defence on Saturday when they attempt to keep Fiji’s renowned runners firmly on the back foot.

Fiji have claimed a win and a draw in their last three Tests against Wales, and with world champions New Zealand looming large on the horizon for Warren Gatland’s team, no slip-ups can be afforded this weekend.

Wales are on the rebound from a 33-28 defeat against Australia last Saturday, a result that brought an increased sense of frustration given that the Wallabies were outscored 4-3 on tries.

But their tactical composure during the closing stages proved decisive as fly-half Bernard Foley guided them to a 10th successive victory at Wales’ expense by kicking a drop goal and penalty.

“We were passive in the build-up to the drop goal,” Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards said.

“We defended for 22 phases, which in itself is good defence, but we pride ourselves on our attacking style of defence and actually trying to take yardage off the opposition.

“We probably conceded 18-20 yards in 22 phases, which equates to about a yard every phase, which is something we have definitely been working on more this week. We’ve been working on blasting hard off the line and really dominating those collisions.

“They (Fiji) have got some big powerful lads who will try to blast over the advantage line, and it is vital that we meet them as much as we can on our terms, not their terms.”

Edwards, though, has no qualms with Wales’ general defensive shape, one that was moulded by centre Jamie Roberts’ outstanding efforts in repelling Australia’s attack six days ago.

“I thought our structure was really, really good – as good as it’s ever been against Australia,” Edwards added.

“The year before, I thought we were chasing shadows at times when Australia had the ball. This year, we were a lot more in control.

“We had more than a 90 per cent tackle completion, but two massive missed tackles led to tries. I am pretty confident those tackles we missed will be made this week.”

And Wales will need to make the big hits count, especially against a Fiji side that includes such powerful attacking threats as the physically-imposing midfield combination of Nemani Nadolo and Vereniki Goneva.

“Fijians are famous for their sevens style of rugby,” Edwards said.

“They are brilliant sevens players and very, very good broken-field players, so the least number of times we can give them those sort of situations the better. Everyone knows that.

“They have a lot of flair and some big, big powerful guys. The 10, 12, 13 combination is extremely big and powerful, so we have to muscle-up on those guys.”

Published: Friday 14th November 2014 by The News Editor

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