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Shaun Edwards focused on extending deal with Wales

Former Wigan and Great Britain half-back Shaun Edwards could be tempted back into rugby league one day but for now he is focused on talks to extend his stay in rugby union with Wales.

The 49-year-old former Wasps head coach is out of contract with the WRU, where he has worked since 2008, but national coach Warren Gatland is keen for him to remain in place at least until the end of the next World Cup in 2019.

Edwards has also been touted by former England captain Will Carling for a role at Twickenham in the post-Stuart Lancaster era and told an audience at a Rugby Football League dinner in Manchester on Thursday night when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame that he was "open to offers" but afterwards brushed aside the speculation, saying: "Can we just talk rugby league today?"

Wigan-born Edwards has spent the last 15 years in the 15-man code but is still the most decorated player in league and retains a keen interest in the sport.

"I watch the Super League and my son is a mad Wigan fan," he said. "I still study the game. I'm probably not as up to date as someone like Steve McNamara, Shaun Wane or Brian McDermott etc but I still look at it from a coaching point of view.

"Maybe I'll come back one day, who knows? I am in negotiations with Welsh Rugby Union at the moment about extending my deal but who knows, in the future maybe I'd be interested in maybe coming back."

Edwards, who was a member of the Wigan team that lifted the Challenge Cup for a record eight consecutive years at Wembley from 1988-95, became the 25th member of the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

"Back in 1988, I played in a Great Britain versus the Rest of the World and I remember looking in admiration at the great players of the past and at the back of my mind thinking that, if I'm prepared to go through a bit of pain and be disciplined, maybe one day my name could be up alongside them and fortunately that day has finally come," he said.

Edwards, the 1990 Man of Steel who also won three World Club Challenges and eight Championship titles with Wigan and 36 caps for Great Britain, caught up with England coach Steve McNamara, a former team-mate, ahead of Saturday's deciding third Test against New Zealand at Wigan.

"I've got a lot of respect for Steve and I wished him and all the lads the best for Saturday," Edwards said. "I was in his company at Wembley a couple of years ago and we had a great day together, talking tactics, and he really helped me to catch up a little bit with the way the game is played nowadays.

"Obviously I'd love our lads to win on Saturday. It's going to be a test of character, a test of courage and also a test of the ability of the players and discipline has a lot to do with winning Test matches, particularly when winning margins are often so small."

Edwards, who was signed by then Wigan coach Alex Murphy on his 17th birthday, graced Central Park for 15 seasons and believes the backing of the Wigan fans at the DW Stadium could help tip the balance of an evenly-contested series the way of England.

"That's a positive," he said. "They're passionate at Wigan and they're going to get behind our lads. Hopefully they will lift them and give us that little bit extra, that one per cent extra, which you need in a Test match."


From Belfast Telegraph