Shots have been fired ahead of Friday night’s Six Nations opener with Wales coach Shaun Edwards accusing England of using ‘underhand illegal rugby league tactics’.
Edwards claimed that England use rugby league-style attacking move to intentionally obstruct opposition defenders during last night’s referee meeting in Cardiff.
England coach Mike Catt strongly refuted the allegations saying
‘If Shaun’s concerned about it, then he’s got it out there,’
‘Probably everyone in world rugby does what we do, so I don’t know what his concern is. There’s nothing illegal about it. Every team runs those sorts of shapes. I don’t know why Wales don’t do it.
‘They do! Surprise, surprise. Unless you’re running into a player, I don’t think you’re obstructing. If you go in between two players, that’s not obstruction. I’m sure he knows the rules.’
Former league star Edwards claimed
‘I’ve studied England’s play a lot with Martin Gleeson, the Salford coach,’
‘He agreed with me that England use a style of play that is similar to the way we used to play with Wigan Warriors (alongside England backs coach Andy Farrell).
‘They try and get you to number up wrong on the left or right post, with the trigger being the full back (Mike Brown) who decides which way the attack should go.
‘They will come at you with what we call “league plays” with that ball out the back.
‘It’s important that we get our structures right and it is also important there is no obstruction of our defensive players ahead of the ball.
‘A lot of tries are disallowed in rugby league because of that. I’m sure the referees and television match officials will be well aware of that. It is a risk to do a lot of those rugby league plays because of the obstruction rule.’
In the build-up to Friday night’s fixtures, all of the verbal attacks have been triggered by the Welsh camp.
There has been no shortage of confidence from Warren Gatland’s team, who have a clean bill of health and are odds-on favourites for Friday night’s meeting in Cardiff.
Wales boast 448 caps in their starting XV compared to 358 in England’s; however, Red Rose coach Lancaster is not concerned about carrying the underdog tag.
‘The odds are irrelevant to me,’ said Lancaster. ‘We played pretty much the same Welsh team last year and we 100 per cent respect that they have British Lions.
‘But equally we have confidence and belief that we can do the job, because if we don’t believe that, we’ll have no chance. We definitely believe we can go there and win.’