Shaun Edwards reveals he has not signed contract to join Wigan Warriors and remain open to rugby union move

The Independent understands that both Wasps and Bath remain interested in keeping Edwards in rugby union once he leaves Wales after Wigan return is thrown into major doubt

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 17 March 2019 13:46
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Six Nations: Warren Gatland hails Wales' Grand Slam win

Shaun Edwards has put himself on the market for any club or country across both rugby union and rugby league after revealing that Wigan Warriors have not offered him a contract, despite agreeing to take over as head coach from 2020 nine months ago.

The current Wales defence coach will leave his role alongside the rest of Warren Gatland’s backroom staff following this year’s Rugby World Cup, and announced in 2018 that he had agreed to return to rugby league and former club Wigan Warriors, with Adrian Lam taking charge this year.

But the ex-Great Britain captain has made the stunning revelation that the Super League club are yet to offer him a contract, meaning that he is free to hold talks with any other interested party after the “unusual” situation arose.

"On my future, my next step really is to sign a contract, I haven't signed a contract with anybody yet," Edwards told Press Association. "I haven't signed a contract. The only team I'm not going to go to is Wales, because the new coach (Wayne pivac) is going in a different direction.

"He wants to do something different. So that's where I'm at at the moment. So as it stands, come the end of the World Cup I'm unemployed. So that's where I am."

The Independent understands that Wasps are considering Edwards as a potential addition to their coaching staff, either alongside current director of rugby Dai Young or as a replacement if the Welshman cuts his losses and leaves after a difficult season. Bath are also keeping close tabs on the 52-year-old’s future should Todd Blackadder’s side miss out on the Premiership top-four this season. They currently sit seven points off fourth-paced Gloucester in sixth position.

But another development could see Edwards thrown into the mix with England, should Eddie Jones decide to leave the role after the Rugby World Cup. Jones has a contract in place until 2021 as part of the Rugby Football Union’s decision to extend his deal during an ‘integration’ phase alongside his eventual successor, but the Australian has given no guarantees that he will stay in the job post-Japan 2019 and repeatedly said that it will not be his decision.

The public revelation is likely to come as shock to Wigan given the verbal agreement and official announcement. With Lam’s side struggling down in 10th in this year’s Super League after just one victory from their opening six matches, they could yet be prompted into action in offering Edwards a contract for 2020.

Edwards revealed that he has not signed a contract to join Wigan 

"I agreed with Wigan and thought we would sign a contract," Edwards continued. "But then Wigan said, 'it's OK, we'll sign one later', and I thought that was unusual. And that was nine months ago.

"I agreed to go to Wigan, but I never signed a contract.

"I'll consider all offers, league, union. All I can say is that I haven't signed anything with anybody."

The likelihood of Edwards rekindling his partnership with Gatland – who he also worked with at Wasps that brought two Heineken Cup final victories and four Premiership titles – with England appears slim though. Gatland is yet to decide what his future holds after guiding Wales to a third Six Nations Grand Slam in 11 years on Saturday, but it would appear that he is not expecting to take the top job at Twickenham any time soon.

"I don't know. I've had conversations with a few people, but nothing concrete,” Gatland told the BBC after the dominant 25-7 victory over Ireland that clinched the clean sweep and a record-extending 14th consecutive victory. "No, I haven't spoken to England. There's lots of rumours, but I would never be allowed across the Bridge again.

Gatland does not expect to take the England job if Eddie Jones leaves

"It's not something I'm planning on doing and I haven't thought when my next step is going to be.

"My plan is to finish after the World Cup, take a break and assess what's going to happen after that."

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