Rugby World Cup: Wales could emulate England 2003, says Shaun Edwards

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Shaun Edwards on Wales preparing to face Georgia in bad weather
World Cup - Pool D: Wales v Georgia
Venue: City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota City Date: Monday, 23 September Kick-off: 11:15 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on every Wales game across BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Defence coach Shaun Edwards believes Wales' experience could help them emulate England's 2003 World Cup winners.

Wales will field their oldest line-up in the competition - with an average age of 28 years and 331 days - in Monday's opener against Georgia.

Head coach Warren Gatland said on Saturday the age profile of this Wales side was "no accident".

"We have been preparing for this for a very long time," said Edwards.

"[This has been] two years in the making. We are fully focused on Monday night against a formidable opponent, and one that we have a lot of respect for. It is going to be physical, but we are here to compete.

"We are more experienced. Definitely more experienced. I was told that this is the most experienced XV we have played at a Rugby World Cup.

"You look back at 2003, the only northern hemisphere team to win it was obviously England. They had an experienced team, a few guys over 30. I don't think that does you any harm."

England's original 30-man squad for the 2003 World Cup included 14 players aged 30 or older.

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Shaun Edwards jokes about how far Wales can go in the RWC

They also had 14 players aged 30 or older in their squad for the tournament four years later, when they reached the final.

The furthest Wales have reached in the competition was the semi-finals in 1987 and 2011.

Aiming to avoid Anthony Joshua's fate

Andy Ruiz Jr knocks down Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua (left) suffered a first defeat of his professional career against Andy Ruiz Jr in June

Six Nations champions Wales will be overwhelming favourites for Monday's match in Toyota City, but Edwards is confident complacency will not be an issue.

He cited heavyweight boxing as an example of how costly it can be when athletes take their eye off the task at hand.

Although Edwards did not name Anthony Joshua, there was a clear inference that Wales were aiming to avoid going the same way of the British boxer who suffered a shock defeat against the unfancied Andy Ruiz Jr in June.

"You can't look too far ahead and I think heavyweight boxing has proved that over the last few months," said Edwards.

"We have to overcome Georgia first and then we'll look at Australia."

Asked if he was referring to Joshua, Edwards added: "And Tyson Fury the other night - he had a bad cut and could have lost that fight.

"I'm not saying anything about Anthony Joshua as I wasn't there, but there is no complacency in our team.

"Rugby is very emotive and you have to encourage that emotion, but we have to control that and use it in the right way. We aim to do that on Monday night."