British & Irish Lions
Gatland "agonised" over Edwards snub
ESPN Staff
December 13, 2012
Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards looks on intently during a Wales media session, Sky City, Auckland, New Zealand, October 11, 2011
Shaun Edwards lost out to Andy Farrell for a place in the Lions coaching team © Getty Images

Lions head coach Warren Gatland admitted he "agonised" over his decision not to include Shaun Edwards in his coaching team for next summer's tour of Australia.

Edwards was widely tipped to travel with the British & Irish Lions as their defence coach having fulfilled the role under Sir Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009 and given his close association with Gatland, with the pair having worked together for the past decade.

However, Gatland chose to recruit England coaches Graham Rowntree and Andy Farrell and Wales assistant Rob Howley for the three-test series with the Wallabies next summer.

But the Kiwi admitted it was far from a simple choice to snub his colleague and friend, who was his right-hand man at London Wasps and is now one of his key lieutenants with Wales.

"It was pretty agonising," said Gatland, who also held discussions with Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt. "There was a lot of speculation and people talking about Shaun. That was, for me, the most difficult decision to have to make.

"We wanted some continuity from 2009, with Rob and Graham, but then to bring in someone fresh that challenges me, someone that I haven't worked with and that's why."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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