Wales thwart England to secure new deal for Shaun Edwards

13th November 2011

Shaun Edwards confirmed on Sunday night that he is almost certain to stay coaching Wales until the next Rugby World Cup in 2015, effectively ruling out his involvement with any new England set-up during the next four years. The former Wasps head coach stepped off a plane at Heathrow on Sunday night to say that he and the Welsh Rugby Union have come to an agreement "but I haven't signed anything and there are some Is to dot and Ts to cross".

Wales have clearly moved smartly to make the best of the turmoil at Twickenham and the uncertainty over the England team manager Martin Johnson's tenure. Edwards is understood to have had no contact with England although, according to the WRU chief executive, Roger Lewis, there have been plenty of other suitors.

Edwards has been in New York for a week during which time Lewis said he had beaten off competition from other clubs and countries to get Edwards to stay.

However, it is understood that Edwards wants to retain his links with a Premiership club and the suggestion is that it will be Leicester, although he will not spend as much time with the Tigers as he did with Wasps, until they parted at the end of the World Cup.

For close on four years Edwards had travelled up and down the M4 from Wasps' base in Acton or his home in Chiswick to link up with Wales at their base, Vale of Glamorgan. According to Lewis, until 2015 Edwards will be tied to Wales during match weeks and would extend his work to some coaching with the national academy, the U20s, U18s and the U16s.

"It was more than apparent through the extraordinary coverage in the UK press that Shaun was in considerable demand from many quarters and there were many options open to him in this country and in Europe," said Lewis. "He smartly went off to New York last week just to get out of the country because he was quite literally being bombarded. I kept in touch with him daily out there and concluded matters positively on Saturday.

"I'm delighted for Welsh rugby, I'm delighted for the team of coaches we've got and I'm delighted for Shaun. He has proved himself as a coach at the very highest level and we know what huge respect and affection he is held in not only by the players but also by the Welsh rugby public."