Rugby

SHAUN EDWARDS: I talked to England but there was NO offer on the table

SHAUN EDWARDS: I talked to England but there was NO offer on the table so I’ve signed a contract extension with France… but make no mistake, I still want to be an international head coach in the future

  • Shaun Edwards has signed a new contract with France until the 2027 World Cup
  • The defensive coach received no offer from England for a new coaching role 
  • Edwards hasn’t ruled out becoming a head coach for England or Wales someday
  • The 56-year-old says he could coach into his 70s like Wayne Bennett has done 

I’m delighted to use this column to announce that I’ve signed a contract extension with France until the 2027 World Cup. 

Fabien Galthie asked in September if I’d be interested in staying on for a few more years and the FFR followed up by putting a long-term contract in front of me.

It’s all done and dusted, so now I can just focus on my job. 

In modern sport, experienced coaches always plan a year or two ahead. You need to provide security for your family and France acknowledged that by getting the deal done quickly.

People have asked if I wanted to join England but there was no offer on the table. I went for a walk down the River Thames with Bill Sweeney, the RFU CEO, last year but there’s not been much conversation since. It’s not for me to push that.

Shaun Edwards has signed a contract extension with France and will stay with them until 2027

Shaun Edwards has signed a contract extension with France and will stay with them until 2027

We’re in a cost of living crisis, with clubs like Wasps and Worcester sadly going out of business. 

I remember how close I was to having no job after the 2015 World Cup and I don’t need any more of those sleepless nights. 

I’m not from a wealthy family. I grew up in Wigan with not very much money and have always used rugby to provide for my parents. I wasn’t in a position to turn down the offer from France.

I will always keep an open mind about coaching England, or maybe returning to Wales, but now my sole focus is on France. My French language skills aren’t good enough to be a head coach, so for now I’ll be continuing as defence coach.

At some point in future I’d like to make that step up to head coach at international level. I’m 56 years old and I’d like to coach into my 70s, like Wayne Bennett is doing in rugby league in Brisbane. I’ve still got plenty of time!

Edwards will stay on as a defensive coach but hasn't ruled out being a head coach in the future

Bennett is a veteran coach that Edwards looks up to

Edwards (left) will stay on as a defensive coach but hasn’t ruled out being a head coach in the future – and believes he could coach into his seventies just like Wayne Bennett (right)

There’s still plenty I want to achieve, like winning the World Cup and winning a Lions series. I was a part of a losing Lions tour in 2009, when we lost by a very narrow margin. Does it still infuriate me? Yes it does. Do I still have a burning desire to win a Lions series? Yes I do. Will Fabien do the Lions tour in 2025 if they ask him? You’ll have to ask the boss, Bernard Laporte!

But that’s a long time away. I’m not looking any further ahead than Japan this weekend. With our game being on Sunday, I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch England against the All Blacks on TV.

International rugby is so tight at the moment and it’s so exciting to watch.

Owen Farrell will win his 100th international cap when England play New Zealand on Saturday

Owen Farrell will win his 100th international cap when England play New Zealand on Saturday

Being a proud Englishman, I always follow the national team and I think they will beat New Zealand by one score. It will be a tight game but I expect England to use their maul as a weapon, after seeing Ireland score a few tries in that area in the summer.

From one Wiganer to another, it will be great to see Owen Farrell win his 100th cap. I played with his dad, Andy, who was an incredible player. Owen has the same attitude. I remember him playing by the pitch as a four-year-old while his dad was training with us at Wigan.

When I was playing, if you wanted someone to kick the winning goal to save your life then Andy Farrell was the guy you wanted to do it. Now I’m a coach, I would say exactly the same thing about Owen – and that’s the biggest compliment I could give him.


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