Edwards to extend Wales deal

Sun, 13 Nov 17:18:00 2011

Shaun Edwards has slipped through England's rugby union net for the second time after the former rugby league international agreed to sign a new coaching contract with Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union have said.

Shaun Edwards - Wasps - 0

Edwards became a free agent last week when he parted company with Wasps, where he had coached for 10 years, a month after his part-time contract with Wales expired at the end of the World Cup in which they reached the semi-finals.

With England's coaching set-up possibly in line for a shake-up following their poor World Cup performance, Edwards, a master defensive tactician, was considered to be very much in the running to join the Rugby Football Union in some capacity.

However, he has signed a new contact with Wales up to and including the next World Cup which will also involve him working with younger players at the Welsh national academy.

The 45-year-old will also be free to work one day a week with an English Premiership club, as well as with Welsh Premiership clubs.

"I concluded negotiations with Shaun over the weekend and am extremely pleased to be able to announce we have secured his services up to and including the rugby World Cup in 2015," WRU chief executive Richard Lewis said.

"We have an outstanding team of coaches and backroom staff working under head coach Warren Gatland and Shaun's role as defence coach within that team is something quite unique.

"Talks began informally and discreetly in New Zealand with Shaun, and have continued over the past two weeks.

"I am particularly pleased to add that in addition to his extended senior national team duties, Shaun will also be working with WRU head of rugby (and former Wigan team mate) Joe Lydon within the WRU National Academy."

Edwards, one of the most successful players in rugby league history, was approached by the RFU four years ago but was offered a role working with the second-string Saxons team at a salary he described as derisory.

He helped Wales to a Six Nations grand slam in 2009 and played an important role in their run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Those achievements added more lustre to a CV that already included helping Wasps to two Heineken Cups and four English Premiership titles and working with the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009.

Reuters

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