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Edwards into unknown with France

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Does anyone really know what to expect from Shaun Edwards' appointment?

Following months of speculation, Shaun Edwards has been officially named the new defence coach of France after he parted ways with Wales following twelve years alongside Warren Gatland. 

He joins Fabien Galthie’s extensive team, as they seek to rebuild French rugby after Jacques Brunel’s reign and a number of years in the doldrums. 

This appointment has evoked quite a reaction from the world of rugby, as it is such a huge difference in cultures. 

That is why some believe Edwards can be the catalyst to turn this undoubtedly talented French team into world champions in 2023, and even Six Nations winners in 2020, and some also think this may not be too successful. 

Since his time at Wasps and Wales with Gatland, Edwards has been a merciless taskmaster and has built a Wales team famed for their defence and fitness. In fact, they won the Grand Slam this year purely on the back of their defence, as they scored the fewest tries in the championship. 

This was always Edwards’ approach since his days in rugby league with Wigan, England and Britain. He expects his players to buy into this mentality, which he has inculcated into the Wales team over the years, particularly in the famed training camps that they were made to endure. 

The problem that Edwards faces is the fact that his ethos seems to be the diametric opposite of French rugby’s over the past decade. This is a team that are notoriously capricious, who revolted against their coach Marc Lievremont in 2011, and supposedly did the very same thing with Brunel at this recent RWC. 

To make matters worse, a lack of fitness has been endemic across French rugby over the past few years, from the national team to the clubs. 

This is the bedrock in which Edwards’ defence is built upon and may require some monumental changes to the approach of the players. It is this clash of cultures which will be the hardest hurdle to overcome for four-time Grand Slam winning coach. 

After winning the past two World Rugby Under-20 Championships, France arguably have the most promising team in international rugby and the world got a glimpse of their emerging stars at the RWC. 

If Edwards can click with this team, it is understandable why so many think they could become a force once again. 

WATCH: Wales’ decision to play Jonathan Davies against the All Blacks is now under scrutiny.

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Does anyone really know what to expect from Shaun Edwards' appointment?