Reddan pays tribute to mentor Edwards
March 5, 2008
Eoin Reddan is stunned by England's failure to appoint Shaun Edwards to their coaching team and insists Twickenham's loss is Wales' gain.
Ireland scrum-half Reddan will line-up against his mentor at Wasps for the first time in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales at Croke Park.
Edwards has forged a brilliant reputation as Wasps' defensive mastermind yet astonishingly England allowed him to be reunited with new Wales coach Warren Gatland.
Having rejected a derisory offer to lead the Saxons - England's second string - his reputation has soared even further amid Wales' push for a Grand Slam.
And Reddan believes the rugby league great's impact since being appointed on a part-time basis in January has been marked.
"Obviously it's going pretty well for Shaun with Wales," said the 27-year-old.
"He's a top coach and it was a great coup for Wales to get him. England were a bit silly to let him go.
"The change on Wales' defence since he's been involved with them has been obvious and he's brought a new level of aggression to their game.
"Even if somebody who knew nothing about rugby watched a game before he was there and after, they'd note the difference in how they defend."
Reddan insists Edwards' nous extends beyond his ability to strengthen a Welsh line that was breached with worrying ease before his arrival.
"No matter how hard Shaun is being, you must realise he's trying to make you better player - that's the key to working with him," he said.
"If you're the kind of guy who doesn't react well to criticism, then you won't react well to Shaun.
"Genuinely deep down, he tries to make every player he works with better and that's his little secret really."
Reddan's career also took off at Wasps, the club he joined in 2005 after struggling to make an impact at Munster where Peter Stringer enjoyed a monopoly on the scrum-half duties.
An abysmal World Cup battered several reputations and Stringer emerged as one of the biggest casualties, losing his place to Reddan.
Five Tests later and his speed and vision around the breakdown has added a fresh dimension to Ireland's attacking game that was non existent under Stringer.
A man-of-the-match display against Italy and a key role in David Wallace's tryagainst Scotland have underlined his growing value to a side that is clawing back its self-belief.
But Reddan's progress would have been far slower had he not taken the brave decision to join Wasps, with Edwards' drive greasing the wheels of the move.
"I had dealings with Warren in the year running up to his departure from Wasps in 2005, chats about whether I was going there or not," he said.
"The year he left Wasps he said to Shaun to keep an eye out. He told Shaun I was keen the last time.
"Matt Dawson had joined the club in 2004 and initially they didn't want me anymore.
"But Shaun had a look at a few games and said, 'you should come, I could work on a few things with you and help you out'.
"As a player who was struggling at the time, that was a nice thing to hear. I felt I was missing something.
"I couldn't work out why I wasn't playing the way I'd like to play. It was nice that someone spotted something I could be better at.
"I changed my career around by joining Wasps. I decided to go and I realised a few things when I went I there."
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