After Byron Hayward became the latest departure from the Wales rugby set-up, the decision not to retain Shaun Edwards is being bemoaned once again. One win from six in 2020 and a fifth-place finish in this year’s elongated Six Nations meant a shake-up to Wayne Pivac’s staff was inevitable.
It is the defence coach Hayward who has been the major casualty of the team’s poor form. This comes just weeks after Sam Warburton also stepped down as a technical coach and Ryan Jones resigned as performance director.
But it is the position that Hayward held that has sparked a sense of regret among the Welsh public, as the Welsh Rugby Union spurned the chance to keep hold of his predecessor Edwards.
After Warren Gatland announced he would be stepping down as Wales head coach after the 2019 World Cup, Edwards could not come to an agreement with the WRU about his future and instead joined Fabien Galthie’s new-look French coaching team.
The decision at the time was met with dismay and disbelief by fans as Edwards was – and still is – revered as one of the best defence coaches in the game. But there was also a case that there should be no vestiges of the previous era in a fresh start under Pivac.
'We felt that we weren’t getting what we wanted from our defence, and so the change has been made'https://t.co/wG1p7mqima
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 9, 2020
But after a tricky start to the Kiwi’s time with Wales, the WRU’s decision regarding Edwards has been criticised once again online. Calls are also mounting for another approach to be made for the former rugby league star, but they are hopeful wishes more than anything else.
France have improved monumentally over the past year and their voracious defence has all the hallmarks of a team influenced by Edwards. With one of the most promising squads in world rugby and a 2023 RWC in France, few would want to part ways with Les Bleus.
Gethin Jenkins is set to replace Hayward in the meantime. But with Wales beginning their Autumn Nations Cup this Friday against Ireland in Dublin, there is little time to make big changes.
WRU has made some terrible decisions over the years, but not giving Shaun Edwards a 4yr deal is by far the worst of them all.
— Nathan Lloyd ??????? (@NMarzy4) November 8, 2020
Should have offered Shaun Edwards the extended contract he wanted….seems all the more ridiculous now.
— dom.hurford (@dom_hurford) November 8, 2020
Why on earth we didn’t give Shaun Edwards a contract for life I don’t know ?
— Bill Johnson (@BillJoh84851507) November 8, 2020
So not giving Shaun Edwards that deserved 4 year contract is looking like the biggest mistake the WRU have made ever
— Smiley (@TheBoringOne20) November 8, 2020
Bet the WRU are kicking themselves even more for not offering Shaun Edwards a 4 year deal now.
— Jeff Vaughan (@taffv1952) November 8, 2020
Two big mistakes, not giving Shaun Edwards what he wanted and appointing pivac way to early, as soon as he had the job the scarlets form went down
— jonathan lewis (@jonfish1980) November 8, 2020
I think so, the WRU have made significant mistakes with the handling of Shaun Edwards and putting the blame at BH door for the problems. With the decisions that have been made we have gone backwards 10 years. It’s a mess
— Stuart Mander (@shrekfacethema1) November 8, 2020
Lets be honest, whether you liked his style or not , Gatland got results and the team consistently over achieved under him. Personally would have promoted Shaun Edwards, and let him build his own back room team.
— Gwyndaf Jones (@gwyndafpennio) November 8, 2020
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