Edwards fears for future of Wales coaching team
December 24, 2012
Warren Gatland has opted not include Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards in his British & Irish Lions coaching team © Getty Images
Wales legend Gareth Edwards fears Warren Gatland's decision not to include his long-term assistant Shaun Edwards in his British & Irish Lions coaching team will signal the end of their fruitful partnership.
The two highly-respected coaches have worked alongside each other for a success-laden decade with London Wasps, Wales and the Lions and Edwards had been widely expected to join Gatland on next summer's tour of Australia but England assistant coach Andy Farrell has been handed the role of defence coach.
Edwards, who will instead tour Japan with Wales, has since accepted the decision and thrown his support behind the Lions but doubts remain about the duo's ability to work alongside each other following such a high-profile snub.
Edwards, a key figure in the Lions' victories over New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974, believes Gatland's decision could have ramifications for Wales. "I was surprised that Shaun isn't going with the Lions," he told the Western Mail. "You have to ask why. It looks like a slap in the face. Maybe, it's one of those occasions where it's not straightforward.
"There might be mitigating circumstances but when you have been part of the Lions before, as Shaun has been, you're going to feel relatively disappointed. Going to Australia would have appealed to Shaun, as a former rugby league guy. It's where he would have been of world standing.
"I don't know whether or not Warren had discussed his decision with Shaun and explained the reasons why he was not going with the Lions," added Edwards. "It's a hard one for Shaun - there's no doubt about that and he might think it's time for a change. If the relationship is torn or ended it might be better if they parted company. That's something only Shaun and Warren know."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
In the latest edition of Ask John, John Griffiths answers queries about Barbarians socks, bi-lingual referees and Lions who weren't Lions
"Here is the line-up I believe will take to the field on Saturday, let the abuse commence." Tom Hamilton has a punt at the Lions' starting XV for the first Test in his latest Tour Diary
"Drafting former Lions heroes and rising stars into your side at short notice may make for great copy but it does not make for a great side." Graham Jenkins on the lesson from the Lions' first loss