'We were hearing rumours left, right and centre about him' - Edwards row rekindles
The row over Shaun Edwards u-turn on a return to rugby league in 2019 have resurfaced following fresh comments made by the executive director of Super League side Wigan this week.
Edwards was set to return to his former sport two years ago, with Wigan releasing a statement saying the former club legend would be returning to the 13-man code after 17 years in rugby union.
Edwards originally made the switch to union in 2001 before joining the WRU in 2008. He was part of one of Wales’ most successful coaching teams over the last decade, securing two Grand Slams and a Six Nations title in that time.
His return to league was trumpeted as a massive coup for Wigan in late 2018 but things turned sour in the months after the announcement and Edwards ultimately backed out of the deal, with his head turned by France and their vacant defence coach role.
Speaking at the time, Edwards said that he had never signed a contract and that the agreement had been an oral one. “On my future, my next step really is to sign a contract, I haven’t signed a contract with anybody yet.”
In April 2019 Edwards officially said he would not be signing for his former club. France would ultimately win the battle for Edwards, his signing has coincided with an upswing in their defensive performances.
Now executive director Kris Radlinski, speaking to the Manchester Eveningn News, has broken Wigan’s heretofore relatively tip lipped stance on the disagreement, revealing that club chairman Ian Lenagan hadn’t wanted a war of words with Edwards in the media.
“I understand why Ian didn’t want to get into a public spat with such an iconic figure and wonderful player for our club,” Radlinski said. “So, he probably did the respectable thing and said nothing, and I’ve been biting my tongue for a long time because I thought potentially that was the wrong thing to do.
“We were hearing rumours left, right and centre about him changing his mind but he never communicated these once with us.
“We learn these through different media agencies the same way that you guys do. And then also there were other excuses brought up along the way, excuses like no signed contract, not being allowed to pick his staff, wanting to stay in rugby union. There were reasons and factors behind all of them and we took them all on the chin.
“At the end, Shaun wasn’t even communicating with us. He asked us to leave him and not contact him during the Six Nations. But he was talking to the media, and we were not allowed to defend ourselves. I think we could have done that better.
“Shaun, and I had probably three long meetings where he would talk about the game and how he would implement things. So, there’s the truth. Personally, I think he let the chairman down more than people know. And it’s been eating up at me, because Ian of all people didn’t deserve that. So that’s the truth.”
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