Shaun Edwards rejects new Wales contract

Defence coach will end 11 year association with Wales after the Rugby World Cup

Shaun Edwards has rejected the offer of a new contract from Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced. Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Shaun Edwards has rejected the offer of a new contract from Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced. Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Shaun Edwards has rejected the offer of a new contract from Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

Edwards’ 11-year stay with the Grand Slam champions will come to an end after this autumn’s World Cup, when Warren Gatland will also stand down as head coach.

“After more than 10 years with Wales this has been an incredibly difficult decision to reach but I won’t be renewing my contract,” defence coach Edwards said.

Edwards, considered among the game’s foremost defence coaches, has been linked to roles with England and France following a successful Six Nations in which Wales conceded the fewest number of points and tries.

The 52-year-old had verbally agreed to become head coach of rugby league club Wigan from 2020 but — after requesting more time to consider his future in March - he chose not to take up the position.

“We have won four Six Nations titles during my time with Wales, but I sincerely hope and believe that the best days are yet to come and I am fully focused on seeing what we can achieve in Japan,” Edwards said.

“I would like to thank Warren and the WRU for the opportunity I have had working with the national team.”

Gatland has welcomed the clarity on Edwards’ Wales future, although speculation over his next job after Japan 2019 will persist.

The Kiwi admitted earlier this the week that the uncertainty was in danger of becoming a distraction as Wales look towards the start of their World Cup preparations this summer.

“Shaun has been an important part of the Wales set up over the past 11 years for what has been a hugely rewarding time for Welsh rugby,” Gatland said.

“It’s pleasing that we can draw a line under the speculation regarding Shaun’s future with this announcement and we can look forward to preparing the squad for the RWC and the tournament itself in Japan later this year.”

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