Edwards disappointed at focus on hand gesture

Shaun Edwards was disappointed to have been accused of a rude gesture while celebrating Wales' RBS 6 Nations win over Ireland.

Shaun Edwards

Defence coach Edwards insisted he toasted Jamie Roberts' winning try in the 22-9 triumph over Ireland on Friday night by punching the air - and not by raising his middle-finger.

Wales denied Ireland any tries in a defensive shut-out Edwards branded the best rearguard performance in his coaching tenure dating back to 2008.

Rob Howley's side will close their Six Nations account by taking on France in Paris on Saturday, with Edwards demanding more of the same without the ball against Les Bleus.

Asked about social media reaction to his questioned hand signal, Edwards replied: "I was very disappointed at that. I couldn't believe why so many people looked at that.

"There was nothing in that whatsoever. It was just a harmless hand gesture.

"I was throwing a punch in the air and people are talking about that rather than an incredible defensive performance where Ireland were kept try-less for the first time for four years.

"I'm a child of the 1990s and if you are going to say something rude you stick two fingers up and not one. It's true though, Agincourt, two fingers isn't it?''

Wales avoided their worst Six Nations run in 10 years by dodging a third-straight defeat in overcoming Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Friday night.

George North hit back at his critics with a fine two-try salvo, while Wales' gritty defence stopped Ireland in their tracks.

Now Edwards believes Wales must finish their tournament on a high by seeking another monumental defensive showing at the Stade de France.

Asked where Friday's defensive effort ranked in his time with Wales, Edwards replied: "It was the best to be honest because of the standard of the opponent we have.

"They have been averaging 30-odd points a game recently and I didn't think it was possible to keep a top four ranked team to single digit points.

"Sometimes I set the boys a target, 19-21 points, because I think the attack can cover it but I never in my wildest dreams would have thought nine points against Ireland. But the boys did it.

"Our front-line defence was ferocious at times. The double-hitting by our back-rowers was absolutely outstanding and our tight five really put on because, with Gethin Jenkins not being available for us, we have done a lot of work with the props and hookers trying to get in on the ball almost like a back-rower.

"Their efforts after the tackle has been made has just gone up and up. Rob Evans' was really high at the weekend.

"For me as a coach and them as players, it shows when we work on something really hard we can improve at it.''

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