Six Nations 2013: Edwards hails 'resilience' of coach Howley

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Mike Phillips hopes Wales can let rip

RBS SIX NATIONS: WALES v ENGLAND

Venue:
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Date:
Saturday, 16 March
Kick-off:
17:00 GMT
Coverage:
Watch on BBC One, HD & Online; Listen on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, 5 live Sports Extra & online; live text commentary online; highlights & analysis on Scrum V Six Nations Special on Sun, 17 March from 19:00 GMT

Shaun Edwards has hailed the "resilience" of interim Wales coach Rob Howley as Wales prepare for the Six Nations title-decider against England.

Howley has stepped in to take charge while head coach Warren Gatland is away on British and Irish Lions duty.

Edwards has hailed Howley's decision to recall Sam Warburton to the side for Wales' 28-18 win over Scotland.

"I thought he showed a lot of courage to pick Sam at the weekend," said Edwards.

"It showed he is a man of great courage and great foresight and I think he has done a brilliant job.

"He was aware if it didn't go right what would happen, but it was a brilliant selection.

"It's [showed] his resilience. You have to be resilient."

Warburton repaid Howley's faith with a man-of-the match performance at Murrayfield failing to make the starting line-up for the wins over France and Italy.

Now Howley, who was part of the coaching team who masterminded the Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012, has the chance to lead his country to the Six Nations title.

The former Wales and Lions scrum-half was handed the role as interim coach for the three Test series to Australia in the summer when Gatland broke both heels in a fall in April.

Wales lost the Test series 3-0 to the Wallabies and then lost the first two games of the autumn Test series against Argentina and Samoa, before Gatland took charge for the defeats to New Zealand and Australia.

Howley was then back in charge for Wales' opening Six Nations 30-22 defeat to Ireland in Cardiff, which was their eighth successive defeat.

But a three-match winning streak - beating France in Paris, Italy in Rome and Scotland in Edinburgh - has put them in the hunt for the Six Nations title.

"I think Rob Howley has done a strong job," said Edwards.

"In the Autumn we were battered by injuries, we were absolutely annihilated by injury in the games and even before that series started.

"We now have our best team back and hey presto! You get your best players back playing and…"

Edwards also paid tribute to the way Howley led Wales during the disappointment of the eight-match losing run and was impressed by his mental toughness.

"It was heartbreaking to lose those games to Australia because it would have been the first time Wales had ever won overseas [in the southern hemisphere] in the professional era," said Edwards.

"But we have stuck at it and been resilient.

"You have to be like that in life and in sport. And Rob is a very resilient person."

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