IF Mike Phillips suffers an injury during the Six Nations game against Italy on Saturday, Welsh fans need have no worries about the little known Warren Fury going on as his replacement, insists Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards.

He had the unknown Fury under his wing when he was at Wasps and had it not been for what he describes as “an horrendous” back injury says he would have been far higher up the pecking order for club and country.

Fury is not even among the top two scrum halves with current club London Irish where Paul Hodgson and Peter Richards hold sway, but he comes in on the bench for Wales at the Stadio Flaminio because of injuries to Dwayne Peel, Gareth Cooper and Martin Roberts.

Peel is particularly unlucky after tearing a hamstring playing for Sale against Newcastle on Sunday and he now faces a month on the sidelines which will not only rule him out of the Ireland game as well, but also damages his chances of making the British Lions tour to South Africa this summer.

Fury earned caps in both Tests against South Africa on tour last summer, replacing Cooper in the 62nd and 76th minutes, and Edwards speaks highly of him.

“He has trained very well since he was brought in. He was one of the best kids I ever coached, he’s a tough lad, one of the toughest physically and mentally that I’ve ever coached,” he said.

“He’s very dedicated and he wasn’t intimidated when he played against South Africa which was typical and he did a pretty good job.

“Injury has hindered his career so far and he was coming on well at the Wasps when he had a horrendous back injury. He’s done marvellously well to even be back playing and I’m sure he’ll achieve his potential in the end.”

Edwards says Wales have got to target charismatic Italian captain Sergio Parisse on Saturday.

“He’s one of the best No 8s in the world and we’ve got to stop him which I don’t believe any team has done so far for he’s certainly a real threat,” he said.

“If we can make him have a relatively quiet game that will be a success and I’ll be more than happy. The Bergamasco brothers are also very potent and Canale is a very good outside centre.

“But we’ve got to concentrate on our ourselves and put pressure on them, the least points we concede the better because we don’t want to be chasing a big score against Ireland.

“Defence-wise we’re not far off last season (in terms of points overall), but it’s a bit disappointing we’ve let five tries in when we only conceded two last season.”