Six Nations 2013: Edwards focused on Wales bid for successive Slams
Six Nations 2013: Shaun Edwards says missing out on a place in the Lions coaching staff won't affect his impact for Wales
Shaun Edwards has insisted missing out on a place in the British & Irish Lions coaching staff won’t impact on his determination to guide Wales to another Six Nations Grand Slam.
The former rugby league star was the shock omission when Wales boss Warren Gatland revealed the team he will be taking to Australia with the Lions this summer.
Edwards has worked closely with Gatland at Wales and also at London Wasps over the past decade, but missed out to England coach Andy Farrell for the Lions role.
But he insists his focus is only on helping Wales’ Six Nations interim head coach Rob Howley get the Principality back to winning ways after a run of seven straight losses.
“Obviously, everyone wants to go on a Lions tour, as a player and as a coach, but the decision has been made,” Edwards told Walesonline.
“Gats has made his decision, and obviously I am abiding by it. I am not going to forget how much Warren Gatland has done for me over the last ten years. Most of the things I have achieved in coaching have been through him and his help.
“He has been a great mentor for me, and hopefully he will continue to be that in the future. He has made a decision which went against me, but there is no way my loyalty will be questioned. I couldn’t be more determined. I had a break over the Christmas period, I went on holiday, and I am very much focused on trying to defend our (6 Nations) championship.”
Edwards believes Wales must get off to a fast start if they are to bring home a fourth Grand Slam in just 14 years – they underperformed during the autumn with losses to Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.
But with a tricky game against Ireland first up, the defence coach insists there is no room for error if Wales are to start the Championship on the front foot.
“In the autumn, it took us two-and-a-half games to get going, to get up to the speed of international rugby,” he added. “In all aspects of the game – the scrum, the lineout, the defence, the reaction to turnovers – whatever it was, we were a yard off the pace.
“Our attack in the second half against the All Blacks was absolutely fantastic, and against Australia we conceded 14 points, which is the lowest we have conceded against them by a considerable margin.
“But it took us two-and-a-half games to get to that level. We can’t afford to do that this time. We have to hit the ground running.”