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Page last updated at 06:57 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 07:57 UK

Edwards admits talks with England


Edwards says the attitude of the players made him want to stay

Shaun Edwards has admitted meeting Martin Johnson about a coaching role with the England rugby team.

The Wasps head coach said he turned down an opportunity to be part of Johnson's new coaching set-up because of previous commitments.

On Thursday, ex-rugby league star Edwards signed a new three-year deal to remain as defence coach for Wales.

"When I met with Martin Johnson this week, any alteration in course would have been impossible," Edwards said.

"The bottom line is that I shook hands with [Wales coach] Warren Gatland on the deal long before he went back to New Zealand after the Six Nations," he added in the Guardian.

Edwards was overlooked by the England senior set-up in January and turned down a role with the England Saxons side to take up a part-time post under Gatland with Wales.

I met Martin Johnson any alteration in course would have been impossible

Shaun Edwards

"Back before Christmas, when Warren asked about joining up with Wales my focus was on getting the necessary experience of international rugby to be a realistic candidate for a coaching job with the Lions and talks were well advanced before England came calling with the offer of running their 2nd XV."

Edwards said the Saxons offer did not allow any input into the senior squad, nor to be included in Saxons selection or for him to choose his own coaches.

Instead he was part of Gatland's coaching team that saw Wales beat England at Twickenham in what he describes as "the start of one hell of a two-month adventure".

Edwards hinted that a role under Johnson, who is set to be named as England's new team manager next week, would have been a full-time role.

He added: "The key all along was the chance to stay at Wasps with Ian McGeechan and a bunch of guys who are something close to family.

"It would have been possible with the Saxons, but the rules regarding England have since been changed to stop part-time coaching, so that when I met Martin Johnson any alteration in course would have been impossible, quite apart from the fact that I have always intended to keep my bargain with Warren."

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