Edwards quits Exiles role

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:11
Large shaun edwards pensive Large gatland and edwards630 Large shaun edwards wales trainin

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has stepped down from his consultancy role with English club London Irish.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has stepped down from his consultancy role with London Irish to concentrate on his full-time position with the Grand Slam champions.

Edwards announced on Monday that he has quit his one day a week role at the English club to commit fully to Wales until the 2015 World Cup.

Edwards issued a brief statement that ended speculation that he might end his successful partnership with Wales head coach Warren Gatland after the New Zealander opted for Andy Farrell ahead of Edwards as part of his management team for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in June.

"After consultation with Roger Lewis, CEO of the WRU, I am to concentrate solely on Welsh rugby in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015," Edwards said in his statement.

"Thus my consultancy work will cease with immediate effect."

London Irish Director of Rugby, Brian Smith, confirmed Edwards' departure.

“I have always been a supporter of Shaun Edwards and that will not change. He is a world-class defence coach and has put in place structures, strategies and techniques that we will take forward," he said.

"I will step up on the defensive side for the remainder of this season. We would like to thank him for his efforts over the last six months and wish him well for the future.”

Edwards and Gatland first joined forces at London Wasps and guided the club to two European Cup titles from 2002 to 2005 before Edwards joined Gatland ‘s Welsh management team in 2008. Their partnership has yielded two grand slams and a World Cup semifinal in New Zealand in 2011.

Edwards was the defence coach of the Lions for the tour to South Africa in 2009, but Gatland, in announcing Farrell, Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree as his Lions assistants, said he needed to work with some “fresh faces.”

Wales kick-off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2.