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Shaun Edwards Gives Fascinating Insight Into How France Will Try To Stop Ireland

Shaun Edwards Gives Fascinating Insight Into How France Will Try To Stop Ireland
By Colman Stanley
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France v Ireland on Saturday evening at the Stade de France will likely decide the 2022 Six Nations. It is set to be a fascinating game, especially if Ireland can maintain its incredible form in attack.

One man who knows a good bit about stopping Ireland is France’s esteemed defence coach Shaun Edwards. The former Rugby League player has turned Ireland over many times while working as an assistant with Wales and France. Yesterday, he spoke to The Times’ The Ruck podcast, where he gave a fascinating insight into the dangers and the challenges posed by Ireland’s well rounded attack.

After England’s loss to Scotland, Ireland’s trip to France is now unanimously seen as the most anticipated game of the 2022 Six Nations.

14 February 2021; France defence coach Shaun Edwards ahead of the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

2022 Six Nations:Ireland vs France

Earlier in the week we reported on French captain Antoine Dupont’s labelling Ireland as favourites, and Edwards had a similar view, going as far as to anoint Ireland as the “form team in world rugby.”

“You get a number of crunch matches and this is definitely one of them,” Edwards said of Saturday’s game.  “I think we’re playing against the form team in world rugby at the moment.”

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Edwards went into more detail about Ireland’s qualities and seemed very genuine in his praise for Andy Farrell and Mike Catt, and admitted that “I’ve got my hands full this weekend.”

“I watched a bit of the game against Wales, and the speed of the ruck ball, and with Mike Catt they’ve got one of the best attack coaches in the world.

“The thing about Ireland is to get the ball back off them. If you look at the stats particularly the Six Nations campaigns they’ve won, I know that was before Andy was there as head coach, but I've just watched the first half against the All Blacks and they had like 72 percent possession and 75 percent territory. And the All Black attack just couldn’t get going.

“They couldn’t get going because of this ability of theirs to keep hold of the ball. And we have to be incredibly disciplined around the halfway line. We do know that Ireland back themselves to play ball in hand rugby, and that’s great to see a team do that because that’s what you want to watch, but we have to be disciplined enough to go phase after phase after phase and be prepared to make all of the 200 tackles in one game.”

On the Irish Independent’s Left Wing podcast, ex-France hooker Benjamin Kayser was on hand to give his thoughts on Saturday’s crunch Six Nations clash.

Kayser played through a number of frustrating years in French rugby, citing “politics” as a reason for their inability to get the most out of their talented players. However, he is adamant that this current French structure has got it right and is the reason for France’s resurgence.

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“The buzz is coming back and the expectation is coming back.

“The reason why France is back is a mix of finally politics sticking together for a common goal, and a new generation that is absolutely incredible, and that is the fruits of u20s development focus.

“And the final point is the quality of staff. The quality of the staff Fabien Galthie has brought together is unheard of. It is the first time that I can tell you that you can pretty much go right, who is the best forwards coach in France, lets pick him. Who is the best defence coach in the world, lets pick him. Who is the best conditioner in France, lets pick him.”

It was certainly exciting opening weekend to one of the most anticipated Six Nations in years, and this weekend looks like it will no doubt follow suit.

See Also: Quiz: How Well Do You Remember The Opening Weekend Of The Six Nations?

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