Aviva Premiership
Edwards nears Wasps exit
ESPNscrum Staff
November 2, 2011
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards addresses the media, Wales press conference, Rugby World Cup,  Auckland, New Zealand, October 16, 2011
Shaun Edwards' services will be very much in demand upon his return to England © Getty Images

London Wasps head coach Shaun Edwards is reportedly set to leave the Aviva Premiership club before the end of the week.

Edwards, who has also served as Wales' defence coach on a part-time basis since 2008, cast doubt on his coaching future by announcing at the recent Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that he expected to return to England as a "free agent".

The Press Association reports that Wasps, with whom Edwards spent 10 years, winning four league titles and two Heineken Cups, have held talks with the former Wigan rugby league star over what is an amicable departure with just over 18 months remaining on his current contract.

Edwards' exit is likely to put the focus sharply on the Welsh Rugby Union and the Rugby Football Union to act quickly to secure the services of one of the most successful coaches of the professional era.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis is known to be keen to ensure that Edwards and the remainder of Gatland's coaching set-up remain with the national side. The RFU are due to discuss England's poor World Cup performance at a Twickenham board meeting today.

A possible outcome of the quarter-final exit to France could see team manager Martin Johnson retained but his backroom staff jettisoned, opening the way for Edwards to work with England after turning down a miserly offer to work with the Saxons four years ago.

Another potential future home for Edwards could be with the Cardiff Blues. Ironically the Blues are without a full-time boss after Dai Young made the move to take over the director of rugby role at Wasps. Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell are currently in temporary charge at Cardiff City Stadium.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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