ROB Howley has dismissed speculation linking Shaun Edwards with a move to the England set-up – declaring the defence coach has been as fiery as ever at Wales training.

The rugby league legend has been tipped to succeed Paul Gustard, who left for Harlequins on Monday, as part of Eddie Jones' backroom staff.

Edwards has been a member of Warren Gatland's team since 2008 and has a contract running through until after next year's World Cup.

And former scrum-half Howley says the tenacious Wiganer proved it was business as usual in Wales' preparations for the Test against South Africa on Saturday week and then the Argentina double-header.

"I think you only have to watch Shaun in training this morning to know that he is fully committed in terms of his diligence, his coaching and his ability to get the best out of the players," said assistant coach Howley.

"I've seen no change in that body language. All coaches will be linked with roles.

"It's a watershed when you come to Rugby World Cups and that's natural.

"It's probably been accelerated this time because of the jobs that have become available."

"Whatever goes on outside our four walls, the players and coaches will focus on the job in hand," Howley continued.

"The job is to go and win three games on tour, that's the ultimate goal. Having been to Argentina as a player, it's about making sure you just focus on the game.

"We want three wins. Argentina, having been there as a player, is just making sure that you focus on the game of rugby rather than the other things such as a bus being late or not turning up.

"It's just making sure there are no distractions and making sure you do take responsibility and accountability for doing what you can on the field of play.

"It's going to be tough and it's a great opportunity to have a game prior to those two Tests against South Africa, because international rugby is a step up in intensity.

"It certainly helped us in 2017 playing England prior to going to New Zealand. That certainly gave us a step up and gave us a platform in terms of what we expected for the first Test."

Wales have been disrupted by having to withdraw the English-based trio of Josh Adams, Tomas Francis and Luke Charteris because the Boks clash is outside World Rugby's Test window.

It is a blow for 35-year-old former Dragons captain and lock Charteris, who was last capped against France in the 2017 Six Nations.

"You feel for the players because you are a year away from the World Cup and it was an opportunity to put their hand up for selection," said Howley.

"We were anticipating to look at Luke for this tour because of the traits and the nature of where we are going. That decision has been taken away from us."

Even in the absence of the rested Alun Wyn Jones and injured Jake Ball, Gatland is blessed for lock options with co-captain Cory Hill joined by Seb Davies, Adam Beard and Bradley Davies.

The loss of Adams led to Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt being called up last week along with fellow uncapped regional teammate Aaron Wainwright, who replaced injured back row forward Josh Navidi.