With the RBS 6 Nations kicking off this weekend and his fellow countrymen putting the final touches to the preparation ahead of the defence of their crown, Wales and Lions legend Gareth Edwards has played down their tag as favourites for the competition.
While Edwards believes that a repeat of the triumph experienced last March by Ryan Jones’ men is not out of the question, he is under no illusion of the difficulty of their task over the coming weeks.
“I don’t think there is one side that sticks out as favourites for this year’s competition and that is despite Wales coming in as Grand Slam winning champions and their wonderful victory over Ausatralia in the autumn,” said Edwards, an ambassador for HSBC, the principal partner of this year’s Lion’s tour to South Africa.
“No doubt there is a buoyancy about the Welsh game at the moment but it is such an intense competition and it won’t be easy, especially with a difficult trip to play Scotland at Murrayfield on the opening weekend.
“I remember even Graham Henry being surprised by the ferocity of the competition and that will be the same again this year.”
While not going as far to tip his countrymen as tournament favourites, Edwards did pick out a number of Welsh players that he is looking forward to lighting up the competition, with the Lions tour this summer an extra incentive for all the players involved.
“Some of the Welsh boys have been consistent now for a good year and a half, especially since the Grand Slam last year. While securing the RBS 6 Nations title for Wales, they will also want to be the first guys to put their hands up and show Ian McGeechan’s staff they’ve got the credentials to go on the Lions Tour this summer.”
And with so much exciting talent on display, Edwards can’t wait for the big kick off, with the prospect of the clash with England very much at the forefront of his mind.
“It’s not an easy opener for Wales in Scotland but I am particularly looking forward to the Wales – England game on the second weekend.,” added Edwards.
“England down in Cardiff is always a great occasion, a tough encounter and the perfect chance for the Welsh to catch the Lions management’s attention.”