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Shaun Edwards unveiled as France’s new defence coach

The former Wales coach will be part of Fabien Galthie’s backroom team.

Shaun Edwards has been unveiled as France’s defence coach (Ben Birchall/PA)
Shaun Edwards has been unveiled as France’s defence coach (Ben Birchall/PA)

By Rory Dollard, PA

Shaun Edwards has made his first appearance in the blue of France after being unveiled as les Bleus’ new defence coach.

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Edwards spent almost 12 years in a similar role with Wales, building a formidable reputation, and departed alongside head coach Warren Gatland following the side’s fourth-place finish at the World Cup.

France are also at the start of a new era having been beaten 20-19 by the Welsh in the quarter-finals of the tournament, with Fabien Galthie taking over from Jacques Brunel in charge of the team.

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Shaun Edwards left his Wales job after the recent World Cup (David Davies/PA)

Edwards will work under Galthie and alongside team manager Raphael Ibanez, who he once coached at Wasps.

Speaking after being presented with the rest of a new-look coaching group, which also includes Laurent Labit, William Servat, Karim Ghezal, Thibault Giroud and Nicolas Buffa, Edwards said: “I’m happy to join France’s adventure alongside Fabien and Raphael.

“My goal is to maximise the speed of the defensive play in the French team. This method has already been successful in the past.”

Edwards, 53, helped Wales to to four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-finals during his spell with Gatland.

  • 4 Six Nations titles
  • 3 Grand Slams
  • 2 World Cup semi-finals

His next move was originally expected to be a cross-code switch back to rugby league as head coach of Wigan, a deal he once appeared set to embrace but eventually backed away from, citing a lack of preparation time.

It had seemed he was being lined up to remain with the Welsh Rugby Union but, while he will still be involved in the familiar environment of the Six Nations next year, it will be as part of a different dressing room.

France kick off their campaign against World Cup runners-up England on February 2, with Edwards’ Welsh reunion scheduled for Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Feb 22.

PA

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