7:20am Wednesday 26th February 2014
SHAUN Edwards expects that Wales will need to be at their miserly best if they are to keep their Six Nations title hopes alive by winning at Twickenham.
England were on the receiving end of a 30-3 drubbing when the sides met at the Millennium Stadium last year, a crushing defeat that not only saw their Grand Slam dreams crushed but saw the tournament trophy remain in Cardiff for another year.
But defence coach expects the crunch encounter a week on Sunday to be more like the nip-and-tuck meeting at 'HQ' in 2012.
With the teams locked at 12-12 the encounter swung the way of Wales thanks to a defensive double – first Scott Williams ripped the ball away from Courtney Lawes to go under the sticks and then Leigh Halfpenny protected the seven-point lead with a stunning try-saving tackle on David Strettle at the death.
Edwards said: "The last time that we went there in 2012 it was a very tight game that was decided by Scott Williams' big turnover play.
"You need to have a strong defence," he continued. "It's unrealistic to think you will go to England and score 25 to 35 points.
"You need a strong defence, strong kicking piece and set piece while when we get chances we need to take them because you are not going to get that many at Twickenham."
Wales will benefit from England being hit by an injury to powerhouse number eight Billy Vunipola but Edwards insists they will still have to be on their guard because of a strong former Scarlets forward.
"Ben Morgan is a very similar player to Billy and it's almost changing like for like," said Edwards. "He is a bit taller and probably more of an open field runner but both are very difficult to tackle.
"Last time against England (at Twickenham) Ben was the player, along with Manu Tuilagi (who is missing the Six Nations through injury), that broke a number of our tackles.
"That is something that we are going to be practicing very diligently to try and stop his go-forward, particularly from kick returns."
Edwards will also be studying the footage of England's inexperienced backs who have grasped their opportunity to impress.
Wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May and centre Luther Burrell boast a combined tally of 10 caps being given a shot by Stuart Lancaster and his management team.
"They've been absolutely fantastic considering their youth," he said. "The coaches deserve a pat on the back for bringing in so many quite inexperienced young lads who haven't played a lot of Test matches, and they've played so well.
"The coaches have had the guts to pick young players, like Warren Gatland has in the past."
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