Wigan Warriors to speak with Shaun Edwards over his future after contract dispute emerges

Edwards had initially agreed to become Wigan’s head coach at the start of the 2020 season

Jack de Menezes
Monday 18 March 2019 13:17
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Wigan Warriors will contact Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards after he claimed he will consider all offers from rugby union and league, despite agreeing to take over the Super League club from next year.

Edwards said on Sunday that he was surprised not to have received a contract offer from Wigan despite agreeing to become head coach from the start of the 2020 season, once his commitments to the Welsh Rugby Union have come to an end.

The former Wigan player was expected to take over as head coach next year – with Adrian Lam in place for the 2019 campaign – but his failure to sign a contract with the club led to him admitting in the wake of Wales’ Six Nations campaign that he is open to other job opportunities as he regards himself a “free agent”.

Wigan have issued a statement to address the matter, and confirmed that they are yet to speak to Edwards but are looking to do so as quickly as possible.

"Wigan Warriors are aware of quotes from Shaun Edwards regarding his future contractual arrangements.

"Following the conclusion of the Six Nations and Shaun's comments, we have been seeking dialogue with Shaun directly since Sunday to clarify to Wigan his intentions."

Edwards appeared to put himself back on the market for any club or national side across both rugby union and rugby league after claiming that Wigan have not offered him a contract since agreeing to take over as head coach from 2020 nine months ago.

"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."

Shaun Edwards had agreed to become Wigan Warriors head coach in 2020

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.

With Lam’s Wigan side struggling down in 10th in this year’s Super League after just one victory from their opening six matches, it’s expected that the club are keen to follow through with their commitment to appoint Edwards next year.

Edwards said he considers himself a free agent 

"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."

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