Shaun Edwards was a Guardian rugby columnist from 2007 to 2013. Below are some of the articles from this time.
Working up a sweat in freezing Gdansk and maintaining Welsh solidarity.
Wales’s Six Nations preparations are under way on Poland’s snowy Baltic coast as the squad seeks gain through pain.
Welcome to Gdansk, the port on Poland’s Baltic coast and home of Solidarity, Lech Walesa and life with the windows wide open, even at -11C. I wouldn’t mind coming back in the summer, when the mercury sometimes nudges the 30C mark in July and August.
Yesterday it snowed, which meant we couldn’t get out and play, but that might be a good thing. Some of these guys have had a lot of rugby already this season and the injury list is beginning to suggest that the game’s gods may not be smiling our way.
As the Irish might say, we need the rub of the green. But I’ll come to that.
For the moment, Wales will be going to Dublin for the opening of the Six Nations without Gethin Jenkins, a world-class player, and Rhys Priestland, whose arrival in Welsh ranks created the midfield space which helped us to play the way we did at the World Cup. Both have knee problems and when you add the doubts about Dan Lydiate – somebody stood on his already damaged ankle – it becomes easy to get hung up on the perceived injustice of it all.
Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales have suffered pain to reap the gain.
The training regime in Poland was brutal but has left Wales as fit as they have ever been to take on South Africa.
Welcome to Wellington, the lovely waterside capital of a rugby-mad country if not the rugby capital. That honour must go to Auckland where the whole thing kicks off on Friday morning UK time with the All Blacks playing Tonga, and ends 44 days and 48 games later.
For now, though, our focus is very much on Sunday’s opener, here against the champions, South Africa, a team Warren Gatland, Rob Howley and me have faced eight times as coaches with either Wales or the British and Irish Lions, winning just the once. It’s one thing to know what the Springboks can and will do, it’s something entirely different stopping them, although Wales have been getting closer in recent times and are certainly better placed than ever.
For all those muttering “he would say that, wouldn’t he”, it’s probably worth letting you in on what has been going on in the Wales camp since summer and the thinking behind it.
First, the idea was to make Wales fitter and in better condition than ever before. Easier said than done perhaps, but from the time Warren and I spent at Wasps we knew what it meant to be the fittest around. We knew that if we lasted better than the opposition we’d still be running around when they were clapped out, and that ethos brought us league and European titles.
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