Shaun Edwards on moving to France: ‘I’d like to think my best days in coaching lie ahead of me’

Shaun Edwards pictured at his home in west London (Photo: Tom Pilston)

Warren Gatland will be given a formal send-off in Cardiff on Saturday, when he leads the Barbarians against his now former charges, to mark the end of his 12 years as head coach of Wales. It is the end too for almost everyone on ­Gatland’s backroom staff, but Shaun Edwards, who lovingly looked after the Welsh defence throughout that long stint since 2008, will watch the match on television and leave the garlands to “Gats”.

“That’s Warren’s farewell,” says Edwards, who on Sunday flies to Toulouse to begin a new life as France defence coach. “He’s been waving goodbye for about six months! I said goodbye in Cardiff when I won the Grand Slam [in March]. I preferred to do it with a trophy above my head.”

Edwards is speaking in his first-floor flat in Chiswick, west London, where he has lived since 2002, but there are few signs of his unparalleled success in playing and coaching across rugby’s two codes. One simple black frame containing his four Six Nations gold medals is propped on a book shelf next to an autobiography of boxer Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns – and it is only there because Edwards’s partner Maggie took it upon herself to make the memento. “She said ‘these medals are just hanging around, and in cupboards, and it is the Six Nations, after all.’”

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