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Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 18:33 UK

Edwards completes deal with Wales

Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards pose with the RBS Six Nations trophy
Gatland and Edwards' partnership has transformed Wales

Shaun Edwards has signed a three-year contract to stay with Wales after rejecting an approach from England.

The deal means the Wasps head coach will continue as part-time defence coach with Wales to the 2011 World Cup.

"I can now focus all my attention on achieving a lot more success with Wasps and Wales," said Edwards, 41.

BBC Sport understands that Edwards met Martin Johnson, who is set to become England's manager, on Wednesday, but turned down an England coaching role.

Edwards was overlooked by the England senior set-up in January, turning down a role with the Saxons to take up a part-time post with Wales, but this time a senior position was thought to be on offer.

Edwards' work in the 2008 Six Nations - in conjunction with Wales coach and close friend Warren Gatland - has been hailed as an integral part of Wales' second Grand Slam in four years.

That was believed to be based on a verbal agreement with Gatland that ran until 2010.

My loyalty to Wasps is undiminished and I have already formed an extremely close bond with the Welsh team

Shaun Edwards

Should Edwards have taken up a job with England, it would almost certainly have meant the end of the former rugby league star's tenure as coach of his beloved Wasps due to new rules on club and country commitments being brought in by the Rugby Football Union.

Edwards has also spoken of his desire to play a part on next year's Lions tour, and Wales have welcomed his ambitions in that area.

"We have won the Grand Slam, but now it is time to focus on preparing to face South Africa," said Edwards.

"I am extremely grateful to the managements of both Wasps and the Welsh Rugby Union for giving me this opportunity to work with these two marvellous teams.

"My loyalty to Wasps is undiminished and I have already formed an extremely close bond with the Welsh team and the Welsh fans.

"There has been a lot of speculation about my future, but I have always remained clear on where my loyalties lie.

"The Welsh squad has been great, fast to learn and have given everything asked of them even though that has sometimes been painful.

"There is still a lot of work to be done with the Wales squad, but they are a talented group of players and I am looking forward to the future."

WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: "This is an important day for Wales. We are assembling a formidable array of talent to ensure we reposition Welsh rugby at the forefront of the global game.


"Shaun Edwards, in a remarkably short space of time, has gained a unique place within Welsh rugby.

"Shaun thoroughly deserves his fast-growing worldwide rugby reputation as an outstanding coach.

"He has the capacity, attitude and integrity to make a huge difference to the teams he works with and the focus he brings to his task is legendary.

"We have a formidable coaching team in place under Warren Gatland and they know exactly what needs to be done to achieve the best from this current team.

"This contract with Shaun ensures he and Warren can work and plan towards goals which can be realised through to the next World Cup and that is an exciting prospect for the whole of Welsh rugby."

see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
07 Aug 07 |  Wales

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