Shaun Edwards: Wales must push into top four in world, says defence coach

Shaun Edwards
Shaun Edwards was a member of Warren Gatland's coaching team at London Wasps
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Wales' immediate ambitions are to secure a place in the top four in the world rankings, defence coach Shaun Edwards says.

Edwards added that Wales need a rise from fifth spot to improve their hopes in next May's draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

It could help Wales avoid the 'Pool of Death' they endured in 2015 when they were drawn with Australia and England.

"That is what we are aiming to do," said Edwards.

"If we can push our way into the top four, obviously with the World Cup draw on the horizon, that would be a big effort from our boys."

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World champions New Zealand, England, Australia and South Africa make up the top four sides in the world.

Wales kick off their autumn series campaign against Australia in Cardiff on Saturday.

Since the rankings were introduced in 2003, Wales have achieved a high of second during the 2015 World Cup, but have been as low as 10th.

The draw for the 2015 World Cup was also made three years before the start of the tournament itself and grouped Australia, England and Wales in Pool A.

The three nations were ranked second, third and fourth in the world when the tournament kicked off, which led to criticism from Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

"At the moment, there's about six, seven, maybe eight teams all vying for those top four spots in the world rankings," added Edwards.

"If we can get into that top four it will be a big, big effort from our guys because we've only been in that top four for 4% of the time since the world rankings came into existence."