Edwards rejects England

2011-11-14 11:37

Cardiff - England, still reeling from the fallout of a dismal Rugby World Cup campaign, suffered a fresh setback on Sunday when Shaun Edwards rejected their approaches and opted to remain a member of Wales's coaching staff.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced former Great Britain rugby league international Edwards, himself an Englishman, had signed a new deal that would see him stay on as Wales's defence coach for at least four more years.

The deal rules Edwards out of joining England's backroom staff up to and including the 2015 World Cup, to be hosted by England.

Edwards had been 'on the market' since leaving his role as a coach of English Premiership side Wasps just a fortnight ago after his previous Wales deal expired at the end of the World Cup, where Wales reached the semi-finals, last month in New Zealand.

There had been speculation England, beset by administrative chaos and with manager Martin Johnson facing an uncertain future after a World Cup wracked by off-field woes that earlier this week saw Mike Tindall fined a whopping £25 000 for misconduct, would sign Edwards.

But instead the 45-year-old has opted to continue a partnership with Wales head coach Warren Gatland that started when the duo worked together at Wasps.

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

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

Edwards had suggested earlier this month that he might consider an approach from England's governing Rugby Football Union.

"You consider any roles when you're a free agent," he said at the time.

"I'm here if anyone makes me an offer."

Edwards will still be able to coach a club side under the terms of his Wales deal, although now it will be on just a part-time basis.

Although never a professional rugby union player, Edwards has been a successful coach since coming into the 15-man code a decade ago.

He helped Wasps win four Premiership titles and two European Cups during his time with the London club.

He succeeded Gatland as Wasps head coach in 2005 and was reunited with his mentor in the Wales set-up in 2008, immediately helping the country secure their second Grand Slam success in four years.