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Ford open to League return

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Ford eyeing role in 'simplified' game of Rugby League

Mike Ford has said he is open to the idea of a return to Rugby League and says if his former club Wigan Warriors asked he would have to give it his serious consideration.

Long-serving Wigan headcoach Shaun Wane last month announced he will leave his hometown club to see a new challenge and declared that he was “open to anything”.

Scottish Rugby on Monday announced that Wane, who has masterminded two Super League triumphs for Wigan, will switch codes to work closely with elite coaches at all levels on a consultancy basis.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has been linked to the role, but now Ford, who has forged a similar career in Union, has now been thrown in the mix.

“I love rugby league the most, it’s always in my heart, I look for Wigan’s results,” Ford told BBC Manchester. “If Wigan were to come calling you’d have to think seriously about it.”

“We’ve both been out of league for a while but you don’t lose how to coach, it’s a more simplified game than union.”

Ford left Bath under a cloud and went on to hold a temporary position at Toulon. In 2017 protogenic American rugby club Dallas Griffins – who are set to join the MLR – announced Ford as their DoR.

This week Wigan owner Ian Lenagan said he isn’t ruling out an approach to Edwards, which may well have already happened.

“You always have a view of a handful of coaches who you’d like to see coaching Wigan or in rugby league. Of course, Shaun Edwards would be among those anywhere.” Lenagan told the News & Star.

“Wigan is obviously a marquee club and it would be one of the best jobs in rugby league I suspect. Whether you’re talking about UK-based or Australian coaches, I would imagine there’ll be a high degree of interest,” he added.

“But it’s too early in the process to comment. I’ve been getting phone calls all from people who want to come and take the Wigan job.”

Earlier this month Wales head coach Warren Gatland spoke of his hope that Edwards wound remain as his defence coach through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but will not stand in his way if other opportunities arise.

Edwards has been a trusty lieutenant of Gatland since joining the New Zealander’s backroom team in 2008, with Wales winning three Six Nations titles in that time.

The future of Edwards has been the topic of much debate, with England on the lookout for a new defence coach following Paul Gustard’s decision to take the top job with Premiership side Harlequins, while a return to rugby league is another option.

Addressing Edwards’ future, Gatland told reporters: “He’s committed to us until the World Cup.”

“But if other opportunities come along, he needs to consider those because he’s out of contract after the World Cup.

“There are two or three world-class defensive coaches out there and he’s definitely one of them.”

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Ford eyeing role in 'simplified' game of Rugby League