Shaun Edwards’ on-off saga with Wales has taken another fresh twist following the revelation of a startling contract wrangle.
With Edwards and Wigan issuing a statement in recent days clarifying that the Welsh defence coach will no longer be following through on the verbal agreement that he was to take over the Warriors’ Super League side, it was felt the pathway was clear for him to sign a deal to work under incoming Wales boss Wayne Pivac.
Having initially told the New Zealander he was out of the running to continue as Test team defence coach due to the Wigan situation, Edwards U-turn resulted in Pivac and the WRU quickly reopening talks and offering him a deal.
However, the length of this offer to remain involved following the impending World Cup exit of boss Warren Gatland has reportedly left Edwards miffed.
New attack coach Stephen Jones, forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys, defence coach Byron Hayward and current fitness chief Paul Stridgeon have all been given four-year deals.
— WalesOnline Rugby (@WalesRugby) April 17, 2019
Kicking specialist Neil Jenkins, who will remain part of the set-up with enhanced duties as a second attack coach alongside Jones, is also believed to have been given a deal until following the 2023 World Cup in France.
But walesonline.com are reporting that Edwards has only been offered a two-year deal by the WRU, a decision that has upset the defence coach who believes his record of success in the role warrants a contract of similar length to Pivac’s other staff.
? | Wales v Ireland
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 23, 2019
The 52-year-old Edwards has been an integral figure alongside head coach Gatland in Wales winning four Six Nations titles – three with Grand Slams – and reaching a World Cup semi-final. They are currently on a record unbeaten run of 14 consecutive wins and are touted as one of the favourites for the World Cup in Japan.
Pivac’s unusual plan to work with two defence coaches would see Hayward focusing on analysing and devising a formula to stop opponents, with Edwards then implementing these findings on the training field in his hands-on role.
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