‘It was learnt on the fields of Wigan’: Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards jokes that Owen Farrell’s tackle on Andre Esterhuizen was a throw-back to the fly-half’s rugby league roots
- South Africa felt hard done by after Owen Farrell’s big hit at Twickenham
- With the score at 12-11, England’s Farrell produced a highly-contentious tackle
- The Saracens No 10 appeared to hit Andre Esterhuizen with his shoulder
- Wales assistant Shaun Edwards reckons it was a hit full of northern soul
Shaun Edwards joked that Owen Farrell’s controversial tackle on Andre Esterhuizen was a throw-back to the England fly-half’s rugby league roots.
The Wales defence coach, a legend of the other rugby code who played in the dominant Wigan side of the 1980s and 1990s with Farrell’s father Andy, is one of the top technicians in union.
Farrell’s tackle went unpunished on the day, and effectively won England a tight Test at Twickenham.
Owen Farrell’s hit on Andre Esterhuizen meant a controversial end to England’s narrow win
The Springbok coaches were dismayed – and even staged a mock tackle demonstration for their felled player in a planted video on Tuesday morning, showing their feelings of the incident.
Edwards reckons it was a hit full of northern soul.
‘I haven’t seen it but I have heard it was definitely learnt on the rugby fields of Wigan,’ he said.
While the 52-year-old has sympathy for players, fans and pundits alike over this new high-tackle clampdown, he commented that it was for the good of the sport.
Shaun Edwards joked that the tackle was a throw-back to the fly-half’s rugby league roots
‘At the moment you go to the game and there is a pretty good chance someone could get sent off,’ Edwards added. ‘Whether that adds to the intrigue or the excitement, someone being a red-hot favourite who then might lose because they have had someone sent-off in the first 10 minutes, I don’t know.
‘Only numbers through the gates and on pay-per-view would show that.
‘We practice tackling low. We target tackling underneath the ball or round the legs. It is pretty difficult for big tall guys when the little fellas are 5ft 10 or whatever. I feel for them, but they have to adjust it is as simple as that.’ Edwards and his Welsh coaching team were at the forefront of changes to tackle technique seven years ago – adopting a style of low hits that many teams have since adopted.
Rassie Erasmus stuck to his word and has started teaching his players to tackle like Farrell
‘When you were at school you were taught to tackle round the legs, then it went out of fashion for a wee while,’ he said.
‘In the 2011 World Cup we were playing South Africa, so all summer we practiced chop-tackling, which is a pretty dangerous thing to practice to be honest, but we managed not to get any injuries, and then other teams started doing it as well.
‘We have got some unbelievable chop-tackler in guys like Dan Lydiate.
‘We think our tackle height is pretty good at the moment. We are always trying to target under the ball, round the waist or legs.’ ENDS
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