* Professional club appearances and points
counted for domestic first grade only.
Shaun EdwardsOBE (born 17 October 1966 in Wigan, England) is a former rugby league player and current rugby union coach. He is the defence coach of Wales, a post he has held since 2008. In November 2011 he left London Wasps after 10 years with the club, latterly as head coach.
Edwards was born in Wigan, Lancashire on 17 October 1966. His father, Jack, played halfback for Warrington in the late 1950s and early 1960s, until a severe spinal injury ended his career prematurely at age 24.
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 half-back in their 30–13 home win against York on 6 November 1983, 20 days after signing for Wigan.
Edwards played for Great Britain 36 times, starting 32 games with a further four from the substitute's bench, and scored 16 tries. 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 went on to become 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.
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.
After a fall-out with new coach Eric Hughes (a former St. Helens coach), Edwards left Wigan to join the London Broncos. 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 had wanted to spend time with his new baby son he had with girlfriend Heather Small, which would mean him missing one training session a week to be in London, but was refused permission by Hughes. Hughes' decision caused anger among Wigan fans, and was sacked at the end of the season. 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.
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, but preferred the 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.
In May 2012, London Irish declared that Shaun Edwards will join the club as defence coach.
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.
A devout Roman Catholic, Edwards prayed before each game. He has said: "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."