The one that got away… France gain could be England and Wales’ loss as Shaun Edwards plots a fresh start
Shaun Edwards is on first-name terms with most of the regulars at his local pub, Connolly’s, in Chiswick. ‘All right Tom, all right pal?’ he says, acknowledging one of them in his thick Wigan accent.
‘Back to normality now?’ asks Tom. Edwards replies: ‘A little bit! A bit different to Tokyo!’
Normal service has resumed but not for long. It is lunchtime in the unpretentious Irish bar, which serves meals for under a tenner, and Edwards is getting ready to carry out the school run for the first time in four months.
He has checked out of the Japanese hotel rooms of the World Cup and returned to the comfort of his flat in west London, where he has lived since 2002.
Most of his downtime has been spent catching up with friends and family in familiar surroundings. Even during his 12 years as Wales coach, Edwards would commute from Chiswick to Cardiff but, as of next Sunday, he will begin a new job with France and plans to relocate his family to the warmer shores of Perpignan.
‘I’ll miss Chiswick,’ he says. ‘I love it here. I love this pub. Great people. Everyone chipped in to pay for a funeral for one of the guys recently. It’s that kind of place. Technically I’m still employed by Wales until November 30 but my missus booked a holiday to France so we looked at where we’re potentially going to live.