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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 07:34 GMT
Edwards keen to remain with Wales
Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards pose with the RBS Six Nations trophy
The partnership of Warren Gatland and Edwards has transformed Wales
Shaun Edwards insists he is keen to remain as Wales' assistant coach and his contract with the Grand Slam winners could be signed this week.

The Welsh defensive guru's work has been hailed as an integral part of Wales' second Grand Slam in four years.

Wasps coach Edwards was overlooked by the England set-up and instead took up a part-time post with Wales in January.

"I'm not leaving Wasps and I expect Wales will be tied up after a few more meetings. End of story," he said.

The Welsh Rugby Union revealed on Sunday Edwards had not signed an official contract but was committed until 2010 on the basis of a verbal agreement he has with coach Warren Gatland, a close friend.

"I haven't signed anything yet because there are a few technicalities that need to be sorted out," said Edwards.

"My contract with Wasps will run out in 14 months' time. They are family and an extension has been negotiated.

"We're not too far away from finalising things and ideally, I'd like to have two contracts running side by side.

Why would Shaun want to leave what he has got at the moment?

Warren Gatland

"The doubters have been proved wrong. It is possible to be involved in international rugby successfully while coaching a top league side if both sides work to a common end.

"A lot of it is down to Ian McGeechan (Wasps director of rugby) and Warren. I'd like to publicly thank the Wasps directors for the public support they've given me.

"I'd like to reward that support by signing a three-year deal with Wasps that will take me to 2011 and also sign a deal with Wales that will run to the next World Cup."

Defensive mastermind Edwards joined the Wales coaching staff as Gatland's assistant coach in the wake of a lukewarm approach from England.

The Rugby Football Union offered Edwards the position of coach with England's second-string Saxons side but not a role within the senior England set-up.

606: DEBATE
eloquentcavetroll

But after helping Wales to a Six Nations whitewash, Edwards ruled out returning to the England fold.

"It's a hypothetical question. I don't expect England to be ringing me anyway. I'm sure they've got very good coaches and good luck to them," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

New Zealander Gatland and Wigan rugby league legend Edwards first worked together at Wasps, where they won three Guinness Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup.

And the pair are now emerging as front-runners to take the helm of the Lions for the 2009 tour of South Africa.

Gatland added: "Losing Shaun to England is not something I have worried about.

"I suppose they have enough money to make that call - but why would Shaun want to leave what he has got at the moment, the set-up and the people he is working with to go to England?

Martyn Williams scores against France to confirm Wales' Grand Slam win
All the credit for our defensive work goes to Shaun

Martyn Williams
"You have to trust and believe in the people you are working with. That is a big part of it.

"Anyone who knows Shaun, that is a big part of what drives him to succeed. It is not just about winning but it's also about the people he works with who he respects and trusts. That is why our relationship has been so strong."

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis added: "The agreement is based on a very special personal relationship between Warren and Shaun.

"We have been incredibly flexible with these guys. Wasps said in December time that Shaun wasn't available and if we made an approach they would attack us for breach of contract.

"We have always been working with Warren and with Ian McGeechan to make something work. And it really has worked. It has worked for Wasps and it has worked for us."

The Welsh defence has been the backbone of their Grand Slam triumph as they have conceded just two tries in this championship, which is a Six Nations record.

Wales clinched their 10th Grand Slam with a 29-12 victory over France in Cardiff - exactly 100 years after their first clean sweep.

Flanker Martyn Williams, Wales' most experienced player with 81 caps, hailed Edwards' impact as "unbelievable".

"All the credit for our defensive work goes to Shaun," he said.

But the modest Edwards added: "I can assure you, I didn't make one tackle in this Six Nations. The credit must go to the players."



SEE ALSO
Wales 29-12 France
15 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Six Nations photos
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh


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