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Edwards set for Welsh extension

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Shaun Edwards' U-turn nearly complete as Welsh talks poised to reach conclusion

Shaun Edwards is reportedly set to conclude an agreement to remain on with Wales after the World Cup and work as one of two defence coaches under incoming Wayne Pivac.

With Warren Gatland set to leave following the World Cup, it appeared the 52-year-old defence coach was poised to return to rugby league as Wigan Warriors’ head coach. The three-time Six Nations Grand Slam winner was also linked Wasps and Leicester in the Premiership. 

However, despite Byron Hayward quitting as Scarlets defence coach and deciding to move from Parc y Scarlets to the Wales national team along with Pivac, it now appears that Edwards won’t be going anywhere and will instead work in tandem with Hayward under Gatland’s replacement.

Hayward, who joined the Scarlets coaching team in 2014 and helped guide them to their 2017 PRO12 success, will be given the responsibility for scouting Wales’ opponents and analysing how to stop them, according to a report published on walesonline.com. That brief would facilitate Edwards putting into practice Hayward’s recommendations. 

Wales’ decision to employ two defence coaches won’t be considered unusual as they have already committed to employing two specialist attack coaches in Stephen Jones and Neil Jenkins, who is thought to be taking on more responsibilities than he currently has.   

There had been confusion in the wake of Wales’ latest Grand Slam triumph last month regarding Edwards’ situation. Pivac insisted he had been on his defence coach shortlist but had ruled himself out due to his intention to cross codes and take over at Wigan. “Shaun has done a fantastic job – we all know that. He’s a very, very good defence coach,” said Pivac at the time, trying to clarify his position.

“Shaun was the first person I spoke with. He indicated early on he was under pressure from Wigan and that the timeline that was imposed on us were unrealistic. I talked around a process we would be going through. That was pre-autumn and pre-Six Nations. Shaun signed with Wigan and that put paid to the discussions going any further. Shaun knew he was on the shortlist, that he was the incumbent. We’d had a meeting and subsequent conversations.”

Wigan, though, only ever had a verbal agreement with Edwards and with no contract signed, WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said they would open dialogue with Gatland’s assistant with a view to keeping him on board. Those talks now appear to be reaching a fruitful conclusion, with Edwards now poised to work alongside Hayward rather than have the Kiwi succeed him. 

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Posted by RugbyPass on Saturday, 13 April 2019

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Shaun Edwards' U-turn nearly complete as Welsh talks poised to reach conclusion