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The Threat To Wales Is The New Jason Robinson, Says Shaun Edwards

Shaun Edwards has pinpointed South African speedster Cheslin Kolbe as a threat to Wales’ World Cup Final hopes – and compared him to 2003 winner Jason Robinson.

Kolbe may stand only 5ft 7in, but Edwards believes the Springboks wing presents a huge challenge to Wales in Sunday’s semi-final clash.

The Toulouse flier has scored seven tries in 13 Tests and added an extra attacking dimension to South Africa’s established physical approach.

“If you want to watch a game of rugby, you want to go and watch Cheslin Kolbe,” Wales defence coach Edwards said.

“We will have to keep an eye on him. He is one of the most dynamic players I’ve ever seen.

“I was lucky enough to play with Jason Robinson for many years. I was his captain at Wigan when he first came in the team there.

“Kolbe is a similar player to Jason – incredibly explosive, short, and defies the fact that you have to be big to play the game of rugby.

“Out wide, they (South Africa) have got incredible speed. If there was a 4x100m relay race with all the teams in the World Cup, they would probably be the fastest.

“They have got blowtorch speed on the edges. They’re going to be well-organised and they’re going to have a strong defence and strong kicking game. ”

Overall, though, Edwards thinks the match will be decided by how well each side stopped the other from getting over the gain-line.

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“It’s going to be a battle royal on that advantage line. Because a lot of people think that in defence, you don’t want to miss any tackles but it’s not one of the key performance indicators of whether you are going to win a game.

“One of the biggest ones is gain-line. Did you give up the gain-line? Did you not give up the gain-line? That is the biggest indicator of whether you win or lose the game in defence.”

For Edwards, Sunday’s game will be his second Rugby World Cup semi-final as part of Wales’ coaching staff, having seen France edge them out 9-8 in 2011.

“This is where you want to be,” he added. “We are into the last bit of the competition now. If you are not excited by this, you are in the wrong game.

“It’s seize the moment time. These opportunities don’t come around very often. The last time was 2011, and we just missed out then.

“You want to be involved in the big games, and there is no bigger than the World Cup final. So it’s on, isn’t it?

“We need to get back down to the 14-point line we were conceding in the Six Nations.

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“We are only five above it in this tournament – we are averaging around 18 or 19 points in each game – which is pretty good. It’s okay.

“If we get down to that 13-15 points, I think that will help us for our attack to try and cover that.”

Wales have won five of their last six Tests against South Africa – four in Cardiff and one in Washington DC – but Edwards added: “I don’t think it has any bearing on the game. Each game is a different entity.

“I used to get asked that a lot when we were going through that poor run against Australia.

“What we have done in the past will have no bearing on what will happen in the semi-final.”

Cardiff Blues wing Owen Lane, meanwhile, has been called into Wales’s squad as replacement for injured back-row forward Josh Navidi.

The 21-year-old made his Test debut during Wales’s World Cup warm-up games, scoring a try against Ireland in Cardiff.

The Welsh Rugby Union confirmed that Lane will arrive in Japan on Tuesday, with Navidi sidelined for the remainder of the tournament due to a hamstring injury.

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