Sir Gareth Edwards Wary of Backlash in South Africa

Sir Gareth Edwards Wary of Backlash in South Africa

Dai Young’s Cardiff sent shockwaves through the competition when they romped to a 35-0 victory over the Cell C Sharks in Durban last weekend.

It was a display that delighted scrum-half legend Edwards who played with such distinction for the club during a glittering career that saw him hit the absolute heights with Wales and the British & Irish Lions.

“That’s the best performance I’ve seen by Cardiff in ages. I thought it was brilliantly played and carried out. It was a great effort by the boys,” he said. “They did very well. It was the control of it all and taking their opportunities. As a former Cardiff player, I was extremely pleased and proud at their performance. Well done to them.”

Edwards added: “I thought Lloyd Williams was super at scrum-half. He just got on with his work. He looked as though he was in complete control and knew exactly what he was going to do.

“I thought he was outstanding, fair play to him. I was delighted to see him do that.

“His dad Brynmor and I are very close. We have been friends for a long, long time going back to our days together at Cardiff. I know he will be very proud of Lloyd and so he should be.”

Edwards, who was a key figure on triumphant Lions tour of New Zealand and South Africa in the early 1970s, is well aware of the test that now awaits Lloyd Williams and Co on the High Veldt at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld.

“Loftus is a tricky place to go at the best of times, but particularly so now. I would imagine there would be a bit of a kick-back, a bit of a revenge mission within the country for that nil Cardiff inflicted on the Sharks,” he said.

“The Bulls put 40-plus points on the Ospreys last weekend so this is going to be a tough game.

“Going up to Pretoria, playing at high altitude, it’s like chalk and cheese to being down in Durban. You can hardly breathe. It’s lack of oxygen, as such. It can be difficult if you are not used to it. There is a huge difference between playing at sea level and playing at altitude.

“It’s not only a physical thing you’ve got to overcome. It’s how far the ball travels as well. At altitude, the thing goes forever and it’s a lot more difficult to gauge when it’s coming through the air.”
Edwards concluded: “If Cardiff beat the Bulls up there, it really will be something.”

Giving his thoughts, the Welsh team’s director of rugby Dai Young said: “I thought we played really well against the Sharks. The players did an excellent job. It was a great performance and hopefully we can take some belief and confidence out of it.

“But we are not going to get ahead of ourselves. We know we’ve got a massive challenge coming up. You kick loosely to the Bulls and they have got a back three with huge pace that are going to pick you off, while they can revert back to their power game up front whenever they need to. They are not far off as good a team as you will ever play against.

“We have just got to try and play the game we did last weekend. It’s about having consistency in our performances and seeing where it takes us. We are looking forward to it. We will go in with confidence, but with realism as well. We know we are up against a formidable team and that we are going to have to be at our best to get a result.”

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