Shaun Edwards lists his priorities for France to win the World Cup
France assistant coach Shaun Edwards has listed his priorities if Fabien Galthie’s side are to become Rugby World Cup champions in late October. The tournament became headline news in midweek with World Rugby in the country to celebrate the 100 days to go milestone for the event’s first match, the September 8 meeting between Les Bleus and the All Blacks in Paris.
Amongst the activities was the symbolic handing over of the Webb Ellis Cup from the 2019 winners, the Springboks, to the French hosts, a moment that has whetted the appetite of fans around the world for the finals.
It’s a tournament where the progress of the French will be heavily monitored given they are amongst the favourites to win the cup due to the renaissance enjoyed since Galthie took over with a coaching staff that includes Edwards, the former Wales assistant who helped them reach the semi-finals in 2011 and again in 2019.
Ahead of the tournament, Edwards has written about some of the aspects he believes will be the difference between France becoming champions or just a team making up the numbers.
Among those priorities is keeping 15 players on the pitch, getting fitter, and finessing the attack as he believes that the high scores that have happened recently in Test rugby are going to reduce at the finals.
“Just do what you have to do – make tackles, stop mauls,” he said in his latest Rugby World magazine column. “That is a big part of rugby now, you will get a lot of penalties and maybe even a yellow card for the opposition. So things you can control, control them.
“In this World Cup, if you can keep 15 players on the field, any of the eight teams can win. It has never been like that before. But you must keep 15 on the pitch,” he said before referencing the painful preparations that must be undertaken in the coming weeks and months to lay the foundations for World Cup success.
“Every sportsman knows there has to be pain before pleasure. You have to get yourself into the shape of your life because most get 10 per cent or 15 per cent fitter for the World Cup. Every World Cup is special, so if you have your normal fitness level you will be left behind.
“From my point of view, you can add a little more detail in camp. But I have worked with these guys for four years now and watching the Top 14, a lot of them use similar defensive systems now – not identical, but similar. So I’d like to think our system is embedded in because there have never been as many points scored in international rugby as there are now.
“It’s nothing to see a score of 33-25. But I have a feeling that in the World Cup, when everyone is a little bit fitter, the scores will come down a bit.
“You need a good attack to win the World Cup, but you definitely need a good defence and set-piece. To be world champions you must have the full package. We will be grafting through the summer to try and attain that.”
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