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Rugby - Wales defence coach Edwards opts out of Wigan job

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By Reuters
Rugby - Wales defence coach Edwards opts out of Wigan job
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Wales v Uruguay - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 20/9/15 Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic - 14013925/File Photo   -   Copyright  Rebecca Naden(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards has reversed his decision to become Wigan Warriors head coach at the end of the season, the English Super League club said on Monday.

The rugby league team announced last August that Edwards, 52, would be the new coach of his hometown club on a three-year contract after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

However, British media have reported that Edwards is set to extend his 11-year stay with Wales after winning the Six Nations Grand Slam this year as part of Warren Gatland’s backroom staff.

“I will not be taking up the head coaching role at Wigan, the reason being my lack of preparation,” Edwards said in a statement issued by Wigan.

“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.”

Edwards has helped Wales win three Six Nations Grand Slam crowns since joining as defence coach in 2008.

He was part of the British & Irish Lions coaching team on the 2009 tour to South Africa.

Edwards played as scrumhalf and flyhalf for Wigan from 1983-97, helping the club win 37 major trophies including eight consecutive Challenge Cups.

He retired in 2000 and moved into union as a coach with English club Wasps, leading them to European Cup victory in 2007.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)