WALES WOULD have beaten the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final, says defence coach Shaun Edwards.
The Red Dragons finished fourth at the tournament following semifinal and bronze final losses to France and Australia respectively.
The All Blacks went on to claim the Webb Ellis Cup, edging Les Bleus 9-8 in a tense final.
But Edwards says his side would have beaten the All Blacks had it made the tournament decider, believing New Zealander was “there for the taking”.
“When I'm old and grey sitting in my rocking chair I'll look back [on Wales’ 2011 RWC campaign] and say yeah we done well but it was a missed opportunity not to come home with a gold medal,” he told the official Six Nations website.
“I mean particularly looking at how the final went – the All Blacks were there for the taking.
“I just think had we have gotten into the final, given the size of our team, we could have matched them.”
Stephen Jones missed a conversion and Leigh Halfpenny a late penalty goal during the 9-8 loss to Les Bleus, a defeat that halted Wales from progressing to its first ever RWC final.
Instead it was forced to contest the bronze final, which it lost 21-18 to the Wallabies.
But Edwards feels Wales had a size advantage in some backline positions to challenge the All Blacks.
“To be going into a game where your team is bigger that the All Blacks is very unusual, bar South Africa it just doesn't happen.
“I felt with having three backs over 105kgs, had we come up against the likes of Conrad Smith, Nonu and potentially Sonny Bill we would have brought it to them – it would have been a great match-up.”
Edwards, whose term with Wales has ended, continues to remain tight-lipped about his coaching future, but wished to work with the British Lions at some point.
“I have a totally open mind but a really, really big goal of mine is to win a Lions’ series. I want to be involved in a winning tour, we came so close the last time but it's a massive ambition of mine.”« Back to Archives
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.