Full name Shaun Edwards
Born October 18, 1966, Wigan
Current age 48 years 287 days
Major teams Wasps, Wales
Shaun Edwards rose to prominence as one of the finest rugby league players in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s. Since his halcyon days as scrum-half for Wigan and Great Britain in the 13 man code, Edwards has forged a hugely successful career as a rugby union coach.
Edwards' rugby league career began with a high-profile contract with Wigan, signed on his 17th birthday. He followed his father Jack into the sport after having skippered England Schools U16 in both league and union.
In a hugely successful career, Edwards won nine Challenge Cups and eight Championships with Wigan while also notching 36 caps for Great Britain and captaining England in the opening game of the 1995 Rugby League World Cup.
His break in union came with a job as backs coach of London Wasps under the stewardship of Director of Rugby Nigel Melville. Edwards struck up a winning partnership with Kiwi Head Coach Warren Gatland, one that would later have a huge bearing on much of his success.
Edwards helped turn Wasps from Premiership also-rans into giants of the domestic game and alongside Leicester Tigers the most successful English club of the professional era.
During his time with Wasps Edwards has presided over a Heineken Cup win, a European Challenge Cup win and three Premiership titles, including the 2008 victory over Leicester at Twickenham.
Edwards joined Wales in 2008 following the appointment of Gatland to the post of Head Coach. As assistant coach he was responsible for dragging a meandering and disjointed Welsh side back to the heights scaled in 2005.
Edwards introduced a rugged and explosive brand of rush defence to Wales, and almost overnight their soft-centre was removed, leaving a hungry and hard-tackling unit. In Edwards' first game with Wales they laid to rest their Twickenham hoodoo with a daring comeback in the opening game of the 2008 Six Nations.
Five weeks later Wales had lifted the Six Nations trophy at a jubilant Millennium Stadium, with Edwards' defence the meanest in tournament history. Wales shipped only two tries over the course of five games.
A disappointing showing in the first summer Test against the Springboks later in 2008 showed Gatland and Edwards the distance they had yet to travel as coaches with Wales, and in the autumn of 2008 they will pitch their charges against the Wallabies and All Blacks respectively for the first time.
Edwards' gruff demeanour and hard-man looks give away little of the thoughtful and measured presence that he has become in both dressing room and in the media. His work with Wales and Wasps led in late 2008 to his selection as a coach for the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa under Wasps Director of Rugby Ian McGeechan.The Lions ultimately lost a thrilling series 2-1 to South Africa but, along with many of the players involved, Edwards' reputation continued to rise.
However Edwards endured a couple of disappointing seasons with Wasps and Wales as both sides threatened to stagnate. And Edwards found himself in trouble during the 2011 Six Nations after a scuffle with Fergus Connolly, who was also part of Wales' back-room staff.
The incident was swiftly put behind the pair and Edwards went on to play a crucial role as defensive coach as Wales went on to reach the semi finals of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand - largely based on their remorseless defensive efforts.
Following the World Cup, Edwards parted company with Wasps and was linked with a role in the England set up but he committed his future to Wales.
And that decision paid dividends as he helped guide them to a historic Grand Slam alongside Warren Gatland.
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