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Edwards joins condemnation OFWELSH star Rhys' treatment.

Byline: Simon Thomas Rugby correspondent simon.thomas@walesonline.co.uk

SHAUN EDWARDS has added his voice to condemnation of the treatment of Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland declaring: "You boo one of us, you boo all of us."

Scarlets star Priestland was jeered by a small section of the Millennium Stadium crowd last Saturday when he came on as a replacement for the injured Dan Biggar during the 33-28 defeat to Australia.

Wales coach Warren Gatland hit out at the boo-boys earlier this week and urged Priestland - who lines up at 10 against Fiji tomorrow - to stick two fingers up at them.

Now straight-talking defence coach Edwards has weighed into the debate, revealing how unhappy he was with what the outside-half was subjected to.

And he has called on Welsh fans to make their feelings known to anyone who boos a player in the future.

"With Rhys, I think it's important to remember that most of the crowd is behind him," said Edwards.

"But you boo one of us and you boo all of us.

"If you boo Rhys Priestland, you boo myself, you boo Warren Gatland, you boo Leigh Halfpenny, you boo the Welsh jersey.

"Personally I don't think that's on. Over the last number of years, we've performed admirably as a Welsh nation and we've tried to wear that Welsh shirt with a lot of pride.

"For someone to boo that shirt, to be honest I'm not very happy about it.

"If anyone in the crowd is silly enough to do it again, I would like to think the rest of the crowd will let them know what they think about them as well."

Edwards continued: "We don't want this sort of booing going on.

"What's fantastic about rugby is that it's always been a family game. You can bring your wife and kids along and we don't want it to be dragged down at all, not whatsoever.

"You can have a vociferous crowd against you, but at the end of the game both teams are clapped. I think that's very, very important.

"The dignity of rugby must be upheld at all times."

Edwards also condemned the alleged homophobic abuse levelled at Welsh referee Nigel Owens during the England-New Zealand game last weekend at Twickenham.

"I don't condone anything like that," he said.

| Time for the true fans to stand |up and silence the boo-boys: Rugby correspondent Simon Thomas has his say: Pages 46&47 Plus... Gwyn Jones on the very |simple reason why Wales cannot beat Australia: Page 44

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 14, 2014
Words:421
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