Wales' defence coach Shaun Edwards is to return in 2020 to be head coach of Super League side Wigan Warriors the rugby league club where he is regarded as a legend
London (AFP) - Wales rugby union defence coach Shaun Edwards will make an emotional return to Wigan Warriors as head coach of the Super League giants after next year’s World Cup.
Edwards signed a three year contract and will replace interim coach Adrian Lam from the 2020 season.
Lam is stepping in for a season to replace present head coach Shaun Wane, who is taking up a coaching role with Scotland’s rugby union team.
Edwards, an outstanding Great Britain scrum-half/stand-off who won three World Club Challenges, eight national titles and nine Challenge Cups in his time at Wigan, has been out of rugby league since he retired as a player in 2000.
The 51-year-old was only willing to swap codes again because of his ties to Wigan and he admitted going back to work for the club he has supported since childhood will be a sweet moment.
“I only left Wigan because of my son. I wanted to be part of his life. He’s 21 now and he’s my best mate and I’ve come home,” Edwards said.
“Wigan was a huge part of my life for 31 years because I was a supporter before I became a player. It’s absolutely through my bones.
“I’ll be straight with you, some people think I’m taking a risk.
“I’ve got a pretty established career in rugby union and I would probably be full-time employed in rugby union for the next 10 to 15 years.
“It’s a risk I’m prepared to take because this is a special place.”
In union, Edwards guided Wasps to European Cup glory in 2007 after filling in the vacuum as head coach left by Warren Gatland when he returned to New Zealand in 2005.
He left the club to reunite with Gatland in the Welsh coaching team in 2011.
“He (Edwards) is a legendary figure in both codes of rugby as a supremely gifted player and as a highly successful coach,” said Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan.
“He is an inspirational figure, a born leader and a winner at everything he has turned his attention to.”
Wane, 53, will leave behind an impressive legacy, including two Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and three World Club Challenge wins.
Lam, 47, most recently worked with Sydney Roosters at age-group level, and as head coach at Cronulla in Australia’s National Rugby League.