"Pretty good chance" of send-offs under high tackle crackdown: Edwards

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There is a “pretty good chance” of a send off in every rugby game under World Rugby's high tackle crackdown, according to Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards.

The high tackle line has come back into the spotlight this week after Owen Farrell avoided a penalty for a controversial hit on Springboks back Andre Esterhuizen.

Despite that decision, which Edwards said harked back to Farrell’s rugby league background, the Welsh defence coach said cards were becoming more common than not.

“At the moment you go to the game and there is a pretty good chance someone could get sent off," Edwards said

"Whether that adds to the intrigue or the excitement, someone being a red-hot favourite who then might lose because they have had someone sent off in the first 10 minutes, I don't know.

"Only numbers through the gates and on pay-per-view would show that.”

Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus was captured poking fun at last weekend’s controversial Owen Farrell decision in a video that pictured him teaching Esterhuizen the "Farrell technique".

Erasmus said post-match he was going to coach the technique since it was legal and he was true to his word in the viral clip.

Edwards said there was a easy solution to avoiding penalties or cards, no matter the size of a player.

"We practise tackling low. We target tackling underneath the ball or round the legs,” he said.

"It is pretty difficult for big tall guys when the little fellas are 5ft 10in or whatever. I feel for them, but they have to adjust - it is as simple as that."

Wales coach Warren Gatland faces a slightly more complicated proposition when it comes to selecting his chief playmaker for this weekend’s Test.

Gareth Anscombe starred in their first November Test last weekend against Scotland at 10 but England-based regular flyhalf Dan Biggar came into camp this week with the start of the international window.

Biggar has been Gatland’s first-choice 10 in recent times and will certainly have pushed his case in training this week.

"We have got a lot of riches in that area," Edwards said.

 "We have a big decision to make there.

“It's great to have competition, I know it is the glamour position. As a pivot you control the game.

“We will weigh it up over the next couple of days.”

Rhys Patchell is another option for the picot spot but he will have to wait another week to be considered as he recovers from a concussion.

Hooker Ken Owens and flanker Ellis Jenkins have both been ruled fit for Wales this weekend while tighthead Samson Lee will miss the match with a hamstring injury.

Owens broke his nose against Scotland last weekend while Jenkins has been working his way back from a shoulder injury.

The Wallabies take on Wales in Cardiff on Saturday November 10, kicking off at 5:20pm local, Sunday 4:20am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sport and SBS.