Shaun Edwards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Australian footballer, see Shaun Edwards (Australian footballer).
Shaun Edwards
Shaun Edwards.jpg
Personal information
Born (1966-10-17) 17 October 1966 (age 48)
Wigan, Lancashire, England
Playing information
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 11 st 10 lb (74 kg)
Position Fullback, Stand-off, Scrum-half
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1983–97 Wigan 467 226 0 4 1114
1989 Balmain Tigers 12 1 0 0 4
1997 London Broncos 22 21 1 0 86
1998 Bradford Bulls 12 5 0 0 20
1999–00 London Broncos 28 10 1 0 42
Total 541 263 2 4 1266
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1985–94 Great Britain 36 15 0 0 60
1995–96 England 3 1 0 0 4
1998 Ireland 1 2 0 0 8
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2001–11 London Wasps
Source: [1][2][3]

Shaun Edwards OBE (born 17 October 1966 in Wigan, England) is a former rugby league player and current rugby union coach. He is the son of former Warrington rugby league half-back and hall of fame member, Jackie Edwards.

He is assistant coach of Wales, (defence), a post he has held since 2008. Edwards was former head coach at London Wasps where he spent 10 successful years at the club, leaving in November 2011.

Edwards was the only schoolboy to captain England at rugby league and rugby union.

Edwards made his name as a player as a half-backs in rugby league. He played for Wigan in the Championship and then Super League between 1983 and 1997. He also had spells with Balmain Tigers, London Broncos (twice) and Bradford Bulls. He remains the most decorated player in Rugby League history - 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.[1] He was voted Man of Steel in 1990 and is an inductee of the Wigan Hall of Fame. In his time in the sport he won 37 winners medals as a player.

Edwards played 36 times for Great Britain, and played for England in 1995 and '96 and Ireland in 1998. In all, he appeared in three Rugby League World Cups.[2]


Edwards was born in Wigan, Lancashire on 17 October 1966. His father, Jackie, played halfback for Warrington in the late 1950s and early 1960s, until a severe spinal injury ended his career prematurely at age 24.[3]

Edwards was England schoolboy captain at both rugby league and rugby union (the only schoolboy to achieve this feat), and had been pursued by several clubs.

His younger brother, Billy-Joe, also played rugby league for Wigan until his death, in a car crash, in 2003.[4]

His son James is currently an academy player at Wasps and plays at scrum-half.

Playing career[edit]

Edwards became the captain of the most successful club team in rugby league history as his Wigan side went 43 Challenge Cup ties unbeaten, with Edwards playing in every round over 8 successful seasons. He played for Great Britain 36 times, starting 32 games with a further four from the substitute's bench, and scored 16 tries.

Edwards signed for Wigan in a blaze of media coverage on his seventeenth birthday; for a fee of £35,000,[5] the largest in history for a schoolboy player. He made his début for the club at half-back in their 30-13 home win against York on 6 November 1983, 20 days after signing for Wigan. Later in the season Wigan had reached the final of the 1984 Challenge Cup and Edwards played at fullback in their loss to Widnes.

In the 1984–85 season Wigan reached the 1985 Challenge Cup Final and Edwards played at Fullback, scoring a try in his side's victory. His political views meant that on a Great Britain Lions tour, Edwards taped over the British Coal logo on his shirt in support of the miners' strike. Edwards played fullback, and scored a try in Wigan's 14-8 victory over New Zealand during their 1985 tour of Europe, which took place at Central Park, Wigan on Sunday 6 October 1985.[6]

Shaun Edwards played Fullback in Wigan's 18-26 defeat by St. Helens in the 1984 Lancashire Cup final during the 1984–85 season at Central Park, Wigan, on Sunday 28 October 1984, played Fullback (replaced by Interchange/Substitute Brian Case), and scored a try in the 34-8 victory over Warrington in the 1985 Lancashire Cup final during the 1985–86 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 13 October 1985,[7] played Fullback, and scored 2-tries in the 15-8 victory over Oldham in the 1986 Lancashire Cup final during the 1986–87 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 19 October 1986,[8] played Stand-off/Five-eighth, and was man of the match in the 28-16 victory over Warrington in the 1987 Lancashire Cup final during the 1987–88 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 11 October 1987,[9] played Stand-off/Five-eighth in the 22-17 victory over Salford in the 1988 Lancashire Cup final during the 1988–89 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 23 October 1988,[10] and played Scrum-half/Halfback in the 5-4 victory over St. Helens in the 1992 Lancashire Cup final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 18 October 1992.[11]

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 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 Cup 2nd round in September 1992.[12] 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 over the Brisbane Broncos in Australia.

Edwards was England's captain for the 1995 World Cup tournament, but before ruled himself out of the final against Australia with an infected knee.[13]

He had played in every round of Wigan's eight consecutive Challenge Cup wins. 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. Edwards left Wigan that year to move near his son James, signing for the London Broncos. After just a season in London, Edwards moved to Bradford Bulls but was soon on his way back to London where he led the Broncos to the 1999 Challenge Cup final at Wembley.[14] He retired in 2000.

Coaching career[edit]

In 2001, Edwards joined London Wasps rugby union team 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 and 2007 during Edwards' spell at the club.

Edwards teamed up with Warren 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,[15] 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".[16] Edwards left his position at London Wasps in November 2011.[17]

Since joining the Wales coaching team Edwards has helped the nation to Grand Slam success in 2008 and 2012 as well the RBS 6 Nations title in 2013. Wales also reach 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.

Edwards was named Rugby World International Coach of the Year in 2008

To date Edwards has won 13 major trophies as a coach.

Personal life[edit]

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 national rugby league team he turned it down because it would mean being in the north a lot of the time, away from his family.



London Broncos
Runner-up: 1999


Orders and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Stanford, Peter (2006). Why I am still a Catholic: essays in faith and perseverance. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 29. ISBN 9780826491459. 
  2. ^ Dollin, S., Ferguson, A., Bates, B. "Shaun Edwards - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Tim (13 June 2008). "Wales coach tells how religion gives him strength". Western Mail. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  4. ^ "Rugby league players killed in crash". BBC. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 20 February 2008. 
  5. ^ Houghton Mifflin Company (2003). The Houghton Mifflin dictionary of biography. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 482. ISBN 9780618252107. 
  6. ^ "1985 Tour Match: Wigan 14 New Zealand 8". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "1985-1986 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "1986–1987 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "1987–1988 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "1988–1989 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "1992–1993 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "RECORDS" at
  13. ^ "A fear of failure spurs Australia". The Age. 27 October 1995. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  14. ^ (27 February 2004). "Cup heroes: Shaun Edwards". BBC Sport (UK: BBC). Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Mott, Sue (16 February 2008). "Fear of failure spurs Shaun Edwards". London: Telegraph. 
  16. ^ "Edwards is world's best - Dawson". BBC Sport. 31 January 2008. 
  17. ^ Averis, Mike (1 November 2011). "England and Wales on alert as Shaun Edwards leaves London Wasps". The Guardian (London). 

External links[edit]