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'You'd have to be asked' - Shaun Edwards breaks silence on England

By Ian Cameron
Shaun Edwards has made his presence felt with France.

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Highly rated France defence coach Shaun Edwards has revealed that he hasn’t even been approached by the RFU regarding a role with the current England setup.

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Prior to his role with France, Edwards had great success as part of Warren Gatland’s Wales coaching team that masterminded Six Nations title and Grand Slam successes, plus a World Cup semi-final appearance.

Many believe Edwards is the perfect candidate to either take over England’s defense in the next World Cup cycle, or become head coach after the departure of Eddie Jones from the role next year.

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The former Wasps head coach – who was the star guest on BT’s Rugby Tonight – said the last time he England reached out to him was 18 years ago in 2006.

“You’d have to be asked first,” Edwards told the BT Rugby Tonight panel.

“Yes, in 2006, when Mr Robinson was in charge,” said Edwards when asked he had be asked to join England. “But it was a couple of years after my brother had died, tragically died in a car crash.

“I asked my mother, who passed away herself last year, I said ‘do you think I’m ready, mum?’ Because a bit of downtime, I was head coach at Wasps at the time, super busy, every day, minutes taken up, and she said ‘I don’t think you’re ready’. And it was the right decision.”

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“I fancied going there definitely after they got knocked out of the World Cup, when they didn’t make the last stage in 2015.

“I looked at the Saracens players all coming through, and to me it was an absolute no brainer that they were going to win some Six Nations competitions, in the forthcoming, what I call four-year cycles.

“And Eddie (Jones) came in and did a great job and won the first two which was no surprise to me. Because they had some outstanding players and they had a lot of players who’d obviously had it tough after the World Cup and there’s nothing like somebody’s a bit disgruntled, those are the type of players you want to prove themselves and they did it, the England lads. Saracens also won a few trophies.”

Even coaches within the current England coaching ticket have endorsed Edwards.

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Martin Gleeson, England’s attack coach, played rugby league for Wigan after Edwards had retired, but he knows the 55-year-old well and is full of admiration for his success in rectifying an area of France’s game that was previously inconsistent.

“Shaun has been unbelievable. He’s transformed them. It’s because of his simplicity in his message and he gets a buy-in from the lads,” Gleeson said.

“The lads respect him 100 per cent and they will go into the trenches for him. No matter where he goes, he seems to have success so I have nothing but respect for him, as a bloke and as a coach.

additional reporting PA

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