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Wales await coach Gatland's rugby return
09:19 AEST Tue Nov 20 2012

Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards cannot wait for Warren Gatland to return as the team face the daunting challenge of ending a losing streak against world champions New Zealand.

Wales haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953 and few give much for their chances at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday after home defeats to Argentina and Samoa to make it five losses in a row for the Six Nations champions.

New Zealander Gatland missed the Argentina and Samoa matches as he began preparations for coaching the British and Irish Lions on their tour of Australia next year.

However, the Lions have given him special dispensation to take charge of injury-hit Wales for their final two matches of the European series, against the in-form All Blacks and Australia, as caretaker coach Rob Howley steps aside.

New Zealand arrive in Cardiff unbeaten in 19 Tests over the past 15 months but Edwards believes Gatland's return to a coaching team also featuring forwards chief Robin McBryde and kicking specialist Neil Jenkins is just what Wales need.

"We haven't had a meeting as yet where Warren has had a chance to speak to the players but the five of us have been a good coaching team over the past five years," said Edwards.

"If the gaffer (head coach) is missing, then it's going to hit you hard and we are much better when there are five of us all together," added the former Great Britain rugby league international who first worked under Gatland at Wasps, helping the London club win English Premiership and European Cup titles.

"I expect Warren to be his normal self," said Edwards. He gives us some words of wisdom - there is no doubt about that - and, as the build-up goes on to Saturday, he will get more and more involved."

Wales have been widely criticised for a run of defeats that could lead to them missing a top-eight seeding for next month's 2015 World Cup draw.

"On Friday, Samoa were a little bit better than at the World Cup because they had the tighthead prop who plays for the champions of France (Toulouse forward Census Johnston) and they had the tighthead prop who plays for the champions of England (Harlequins' James Johnston)," said Edwards.

"That's why they have improved while we have slightly come back a bit because of injuries.


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