Shaun Edwards, OBE (born 17 October 1966) is an English rugby union coach and former rugby league footballer, who is the assistant coach for defence of France. A scrum-half or stand-off, Edwards is the most decorated player in rugby league history, with 37 winner's medals. In 2015 he was the 25th person inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.
|Full name||Shaun Edwards|
|Born||17 October 1966|
Wigan, Lancashire, England
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||11 st 10 lb (74 kg)|
|Position||Fullback, Stand-off, Scrum-half|
He is the only player to have captained England in both rugby league and rugby union at schoolboy level. He played for Wigan in the Championship and Super League between 1983 and 1997, and also had spells with Balmain Tigers, London Broncos (twice) and Bradford Bulls. Playing for Wigan, Edwards won a record eight championships, and a record nine Challenge Cups. In total he played in eleven Challenge Cup finals, also a record. He was voted Man of Steel in 1990 and is an inductee of the Wigan Hall of Fame.
After retiring from playing he joined London Wasps in rugby union as assistant coach in 2001, and was head coach from 2005 to 2011. During his time at the club they won two Heineken Cups, four Premiership titles, an Anglo-Welsh trophy and the European Challenge Cup.
In 2008 he became Wales' defence coach, and has won four Six Nations championships, including three Grand Slams. He was also defence coach for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009.
Edwards was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England. His father, Jackie Edwards, played for Warrington (Heritage No. 566) from 1955 to 1964, as stand-off, or scrum-half, until a severe spinal injury ended his career prematurely at age 24. His uncle Bobby Edwards played one match for Warrington (Heritage No. 620) in the halves against New Zealand at Wilderspool Stadium on Saturday 23 September 1961.
His younger brother, Billy-Joe, also played rugby league for Wigan until his death, in a car crash, in 2003.
His son James is currently an academy player at Wasps and plays at scrum-half.
He is a Roman Catholic, and his uncle, Fr John Johnson, is the sub-dean of Wigan and the parish priest of St John's and St Mary's, two busy churches in the town centre.
Edwards signed for Wigan in a blaze of media coverage on his seventeenth birthday; for a fee of £35,000, the largest in history for a schoolboy player. He made his début for the club at scrum-half in their 30-13 home victory over York on 6 November 1983, 20 days after signing for Wigan. Later in the season Wigan reached the final of the 1984 Challenge Cup, and Edwards played at fullback in their loss to Widnes.
Edwards played in Wigan's 1987 World Club Challenge victory over Sydney's Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. He was selected to go on the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour. Edwards played for Sydney club the Balmain Tigers when they reached the 1989 NSWRL season's grand final, for which he was selected on the interchange bench.
In 1990, Edwards received the Man of Steel Award after he played most of the Challenge Cup Final against Warrington with a broken cheekbone and eye socket, after receiving a high, off the ball tackle in the 10th minute. He refused to be substituted and played on to set up three of Wigan's tries. Despite his performance, the Man Of The Match award went to his half back partner Andy Gregory. He played in Wigan's 1991 World Club Challenge victory over Sydney's Penrith Panthers.
Edwards finished the 1991–92 season as the league's leading try scorer with a total of 40. Edwards was then selected to go on the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand. He matched Wigan's record for most tries in a single match (10) in the 78-0 rout of Swinton in the Lancashire County Cup 2nd round in September 1992. It was a County Cup record and record for a non-winger in any game. In addition he scored four tries in a game on four occasions and hat-tricks seven times. During the 1992–93 season Edwards played at scrum half for defending RFL champions Wigan in the 1992 World Club Challenge against the visiting Brisbane Broncos. He played in Wigan's 1994 World Club Challenge win over the Brisbane Broncos in Australia which attracted a World Club Challenge record attendance of 54,220.
Edwards played in every round of Wigan's eight consecutive Challenge Cup wins. Altogether he made 452 appearances for Wigan. He played his last game for the club against St. Helens in the Challenge Cup defeat at Knowsley Road in 1997. Edwards left Wigan that year to move near his son James, signing for the London Broncos. He fell out with new coach Eric Hughes, who refused Edwards permission to miss the first training session of each week, in order for him to spend time with his son in London. The decision to allow Edwards to leave the club led to multiple complaints from Wigan fans. After just a season in London, Edwards moved to Bradford Bulls but after only a few months returned to London where he led the London Broncos to the 1999 Challenge Cup final at Wembley. He retired in 2000.
Edwards was the youngest ever player to play for Great Britain when he played against France in 1985. His political views meant that on a Great Britain Lions tour, Edwards taped over the British Coal logo on his jersey in support of the miners' strike.
He was sent off for a high tackle on Bradley Clyde in the first Ashes test match of 1994 at Wembley. He played for Great Britain 36 times, starting 32 games with a further four from the substitute's bench, and scored 16 tries.
In 2001, Edwards joined London Wasps in rugby union as a defence and backs coach, taking over as head coach in 2005 after Warren Gatland returned to New Zealand. Wasps won the English Rugby Union Championship three times in succession, in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the Heineken Cup in 2004. During his reign as Head Coach London Wasps won the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2006, the Heineken Cup in 2007 and the English Rugby Union Championship in 2008.
Edwards teamed up with Gatland again, after the latter was appointed head coach of Wales: Edwards had been offered the job of coaching England's second-tier side, England Saxons, but preferred the assistant coach position with Wales. Former England player Matt Dawson stated that it was "a crime" that England lost him to Wales and described him as "the best coach in the world". Edwards left his position at London Wasps in November 2011.
Since joining the Wales coaching team Edwards has helped the nation to Grand Slam wins in 2008, 2012 and 2019 as well the Six Nations title in 2013. Wales also reached the last four of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. In Edwards' first Six Nations Wales conceded just two tries on their way to the title and in 2013-14 Wales went more than 400 minutes in the tournament without conceding a try. He was named Rugby World International Coach of the Year in 2008.
On 8 August 2018 it was announced that Edwards would return to rugby league to coach his former club Wigan Warriors in 2020, after completing his commitments with Wales. He described it as an opportunity too special to turn down. However, in March 2019 he stated that he had not signed a contract with Wigan, instead signing up as France defence coach early 2020..
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Edwards had a long-term relationship with M People singer Heather Small, with whom he has a son, James. Although no longer together, a key factor in his moving to the south was that he could be close to his son. When offered the job of coaching the Great Britain rugby league team he turned it down because it would mean being in the north a lot of the time, away from his family.
He is the patron of Looseheadz, a charity raising awareness for mental health.
- World Club Challenge (3): 1987, 1991, 1994
- Championship (8): 1986–87, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
- Challenge Cup (9): 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
- Lancashire County Cup (5): 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992
- London Broncos
- Runner-up: 1999
As head coachEdit
As assistant coachEdit
- Six Nations (3)
Orders and awardsEdit
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "England Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl.co.uk. 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Great Britain Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl.co.uk. 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Statistics at wiganwarriorsfans.com". wiganwarriorsfans.com. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "Statistics at nrlstats.com (archived by web.archive.org)". nrlstats.com. 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 9 August 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Shaun Edwards inducted into Rugby League Hall of Fame". Sky Sports. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- Stanford, Peter (2006). Why I am still a Catholic: essays in faith and perseverance. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 29. ISBN 9780826491459.
- Lewis, Tim (13 June 2008). "Wales coach tells how religion gives him strength". Western Mail. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
- "Rugby league players killed in crash". BBC. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
- Houghton Mifflin Company (2003). The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 482. ISBN 9780618252107.
- "RECORDS" Archived 28 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine at wiganwarriors.com
- news.bbc.co.uk (27 February 2004). "Cup heroes: Shaun Edwards". BBC Sport. UK: BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- de la Rivière, Richard. "Shaun Edwards OBE". Richard de la Rivière. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "A fear of failure spurs Australia (archived by web.archive.org)". The Age. 27 October 1995. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Mott, Sue (16 February 2008). "Fear of failure spurs Shaun Edwards". London: Telegraph.
- "Edwards is world's best - Dawson". BBC Sport. 31 January 2008.
- Averis, Mike (1 November 2011). "England and Wales on alert as Shaun Edwards leaves London Wasps". The Guardian. London.
- "Shaun Edwards says he has not signed contract with Wigan". 17 March 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
- "Foundation". LooseHeadz - Tackle The Stigma. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
- Official website
- Statistics at wigan.rlfans.com
- (archived by web.archive.org) Wasps profile
- (archived by web.archive.org) Wales profile
- (archived by web.archive.org) Edwards takes Wales job
- (archived by web.archive.org) Crooks in trouble
- (archived by web.archive.org) When Britain defeated the Aussies