Edwards: Wales must douse 'blowtorch' Kolbe

Defence coach has singled out Cheslin Kolbe as South Africa's danger man - and he compares the speedy winger to England's World Cup winner Jason Robinson.

TOKYO, 22 Oct - Shaun Edwards has singled out South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe, above, as the biggest danger to Wales's hopes of reaching the World Cup final.

Assistant coach Edwards has likened the Springboks speedster to England's try-machine and 2003 World Cup winner Jason Robinson, with whom he played in rugby league.

"If you want to watch a game of rugby, you want to go and watch Cheslin Kolbe. We’ll have to keep an eye on him," said the 53-year-old.

"He’s one of the most dynamic players I’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to play with Jason Robinson (pictured below scoring in the final against Australia in 2003) for many years. I was his captain at Wigan when he first came into the team there.

"Kolbe is a similar player to Jason, incredibly explosive, short and defies (the asumption that) you have to be big to play the game of rugby.

"Look at the England backline, some of them are not massive but they’re very skilful, same with New Zealand. It’s a game with all shapes and sizes. Let’s hope that continues."

Edwards is expecting a huge physical battle against the South Africa pack as Wales look to reach the final for the first time, but he also knows their opponents have pace to burn.

"They have got blowtorch speed on the edges," he said. "If there was a 4x100m relay race with all the teams in the World Cup, they would probably be the fastest.

"I hope it is our biggest physical test yet. The Springboks have huge forwards who like to get over the advantage line.

"It will be a battle royale on that advantage line. Did you give up the gain-line or not? That is the biggest indicator whether you win or lose the game in defence.

"We need to get back down to the 14-points line we were conceding in the Six Nations. We are only five above it in this tournament, we are averaging around 18 or 19 points in each game, which is pretty good, it's OK. If we get down to that 13-15 points that will help us for our attack to try to cover that.

"We’ve had a decent record against them (South Africa) recently, but just like against France, nearly all the games have been one-score games.

"That’s what is so exciting about this World Cup. You go into a game, you don’t know who’s going to win."

Edwards, who is set to move to France after the tournament, is relishing the prospect of bowing out on a high having been part of the coaching team that took Wales to the semi-finals in 2011 and the quarter-finals four years ago, where they lost to South Africa.

"It’s seize the moment time," he said. "These opportunities don’t come around very often. In a year and a half we have not lost a competitive game, we just lost a couple of the summer internationals.

"We probably have a little bit more confidence than we had then (in 2011)  and belief in our gameplan and the way we want to play. Are we a better team? I am not sure about that. We will find out on Sunday."

Wales have called up winger-centre Owen Lane as a replacement for back-row forward Josh Navidi, whose World Cup was ended by a hamstring injury in the 20-19 quarter-final win over France.

RNS ig/js/icr