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Shaun Edwards
Personal information
Full name Shaun Edwards OBE
Date of birth 18 October 1966 (1966-10-18) (age 43)
Place of birth Wigan, Lancashire, England
Nickname(s) Gizmo
Relatives Jack Edwards
Billy-Joe Edwards
Club information
Position(s) Head Coach, Defence Coach
Current club Wasps, Wales national rugby union team
Senior clubs*
Years Club Apps (points)
Balmain Tigers
London Broncos
Bradford Bulls
London Broncos
467 (1140)
12 (4)

22 (26)
Representative teams

Great Britain

36 (64)
Professional clubs coached
2001– Wasps
Representative teams coached
2008– Wales Asst

* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.

Shaun Edwards OBE (born 18 October 1966 in Wigan, Lancashire) is an English rugby union coach and former international rugby league player. He is now head coach for the London Wasps of the Guinness Premiership and defence coach, on a part-time basis, of the Wales national rugby union team.

Edwards played at either scrum half or at stand off. He represented Wigan in the Rugby League Championship and then Super League between 1983 and 1996. He also played for the London Broncos twice and for the Bradford Bulls. Playing for Wigan, Edwards won a record eight Rugby League Championships and a record nine Challenge Cups. In total he made eleven Challenge Cup appearances, also a record[1].

Edwards represented England at the 1992 Rugby League World Cup and the 1995 Rugby League World Cup. He was also capped 36 times for Great Britain.



Edwards's father, Jack, played half-back for Warrington in the late 1950s/early 1960s, until a severe spinal injury ended his career prematurely at age 24.[2]

His younger brother, Billy-Joe, played rugby league for Wigan Warriors until his death, in a car crash, in 2003.[3 ]

Edwards was England schoolboy captain at both rugby league and rugby union, and had been hunted by several clubs.

Playing career

Edwards signed for Wigan in a blaze of media coverage on his seventeenth birthday; a fee of £35,000[4], the largest in history for a schoolboy player, was reportedly paid for him which caused a few raised eyebrows in the game around the world. He made his debut for the club at stand-off in the 30–13 home win against York on 6 November 1983, 20 days after signing for Wigan. He is the joint holder of the Wigan record for tries (10) in a game in the 78–0 rout of Swinton in the Lancashire 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. He was the leading try scorer in the 1991/92 season with a total of 40.

Edwards played for Great Britain on 32 occasions with a further four from the substitute's bench, scoring 16 tries for his country.

Edwards went on to become the captain of the most revolutionary team in rugby league history as his Wigan side went 43 cup ties unbeaten, with Edwards playing in every round in the 8 successive Wembley victories.

Edwards was very critical of Australian Test star Brett Kenny. He accused him of throwing a game against St Helens in 1985 after the Cup victory over Hull F.C..

His political dimension meant that on a Great Britain Lions tour, Edwards taped over the British Coal logo on the shirt - in support of The 1984 Miners Strike

In 1990, Edwards played through the Challenge Cup final with a broken cheekbone. His partnership with fellow Wiganer Andy Gregory went down as the greatest in the club's long and illustrious history.

He played in every one of Wigan's eight consecutive Challenge Cup wins and won every honour in the game, including a man-of-the-match performance in Wigan's victory over the Brisbane Broncos in Brisbane in the 1994 World Club Challenge.

Altogether Edwards 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.

After a fall-out with coach Eric Hughes, Edwards left Wigan to join the London Broncos. He had wanted to spend some time with his expectant girlfriend Heather Small, but was refused permission by Hughes. When he returned to Wigan with the Broncos in May 1997, he got on the score sheet and was warmly applauded by the Wigan crowd to which he gave his customary nod of approval. After just a season in London, Edwards moved to Bradford Bulls but was soon on his way back to London where he represented the Broncos in the 1999 Challenge Cup final at Wembley. He retired in 2000.

Edwards still stays strong to his Wigan roots. In a 2007 interview Edwards claimed that 'I almost had an heart attack' after Wigan came back to defeat Bradford Bulls in an epic 30-31 play off victory. He also claimed that one day he would come back to coach Wigan.[1]

Coaching career

In 2001, Edwards joined London Wasps rugby union team as backs coach, taking over as head coach in 2005 after Warren Gatland returned to New Zealand. He was instrumental in helping Wasps win the English Rugby Union Championship three times in succession, in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the Heineken Cup in 2004 and 2007. He is also in charge of the London Wasps academy side, who play in the Guinness Premiership A League.

Edwards, who in the past has borrowed training drills from American football and wrestling, is a coaching magpie. He had playing spells in Australia and New Zealand with the aim of filling out his rugby education, went on a coaching course in the latter and also spent unpaid time shadowing league great Wayne Bennett at Brisbane Broncos[5].

Edwards recently teamed up with Warren Gatland again, after the latter was appointed head coach of Wales: he had been offered the job of coaching England's second-tier side, England Saxons.[6], but preferred the position with Wales. Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson stated that it was "a crime" that England lost him to Wales and described him as "the best coach in the world".[7]

Personal life

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 moving to, and staying in, the south was that he could be close to his son. He turned down the job of coaching the Great Britain national rugby league team as it would mean being up north a lot of the time.

A devout Roman Catholic, Edwards prayed before each game, and his coaching technique is based on: “One of the greatest sayings that I have heard was that you have to be prepared to suffer. I think it’s the same with any walk of life. Nothing comes easily. No pain, no gain, and that is certainly the case in rugby. If you’re not prepared to put in the hard work, to go through the pain and suffering, both mental and physical, you probably won’t make it. Jesus suffered on the cross in his life and that’s a reality that inspired and helped me in the good times and the bad.”[2]

Edwards writes a regular column each Friday for the Guardian newspaper.


External links

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