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Shaun Edwards confirms turning down Wigan Warriors head coach role

The Guardian logo The Guardian 5 days ago Aaron Bower
a close up of Shaun Edwards wearing a red shirt: Shaun Edwards is expected to stay with the Wales national side, after turning down Wigan Warriors’ offer to become their head coach. © Sportsfile via Getty Images Shaun Edwards is expected to stay with the Wales national side, after turning down Wigan Warriors’ offer to become their head coach.

Wigan Warriors have confirmed that Shaun Edwards will not be the club’s head coach next year, as he instead closes in on staying with the Wales rugby team as part of Wayne Pivac’s backroom staff.

Edwards has cited a lack of preparation time to be ready to begin his duties with Wigan, which were due to begin this November after agreeing a long-term deal last August to return to the club.

17th November 2018, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales; Rugby Union, Autumn International series, Wales versus Tonga; Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards gives the thumbs up before kick off (photo by Paul Jenkins/Action Plus via Getty Images) © 2018 Action Plus 17th November 2018, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales; Rugby Union, Autumn International series, Wales versus Tonga; Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards gives the thumbs up before kick off (photo by Paul Jenkins/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“After much thought and deliberation, I wish to clarify my situation,” Edwards said. “I will not be taking up the head coaching role at Wigan, the reason being my lack of preparation.

“World Cup preparations have been brought forward a month and, as a result, I will be unable to spend eight weeks in Australia as planned on rugby league. I feel Wigan need a more experienced rugby league head coach than myself, to give the club and the people of Wigan the best team possible.”

However, it emerged over the weekend that Edwards is likely to remain with Wales. He was initially supposed to leave the national side after the World Cup this year, but it is understood that Pivac is keen for Edwards to remain part of his new coaching team when he takes charge later this year.

Wales' Defense coach Shaun Edwards during the press conference at the Vale Resort, Hensol. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 16, 2018. See PA story RUGBYU Wales. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Archive/PA Images Wales' Defense coach Shaun Edwards during the press conference at the Vale Resort, Hensol. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 16, 2018. See PA story RUGBYU Wales. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Edwards has cast doubt on his planned return to rugby league on several occasions before final confirmation of his U-turn to rejoin Wigan. In January he described the move as “an option”, before later revealing it was a matter of “when and if” he came back to league to take up the role at the Warriors.

Wigan have repeatedly said they were willing to be patient and allow Edwards to decide on his future, but the Super League champions must now determine who coaches the club long-term. The Warriors announced last year that Adrian Lam would be coach on a one-year deal this season before Edwards’s planned arrival, but he could now be set for an extended stay with the club.

The Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan, said: “I have been conversing with Shaun for a number of weeks and yesterday Shaun revealed to me that he thought a combination of circumstances meant he would be under-prepared to take on the Wigan job.

“For us now, our next steps are to confirm the coaching structure for 2020 and beyond and draw a line under the last few months and give our loyal fans the clarity they deserve.”

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