Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards will link up with the Cardiff Blues for the forthcoming season in a consultancy role to work with both the players and coaches.
He will be at The Vale on a part-time basis, with the priority being taking defensive training sessions, while also working with coach Richard Hodges and senior players like Gethin Jenkins, Nick Williams and Rey Lee-Lo on leading the defensive effort.
Hodges is the current Wales U20 defensive coach, and has worked alongside Edwards in that role so will be no stranger to the former Rugby League star’s techniques, while the Wales internationals in the squad will be familiar with the man who has been the Wales defence coach for the last decade.
Edwards will fill a vacancy left by another former rugby league player after Graham Steadman departed the role of Cardiff Blues defence coach after two seasons over the summer.
Arriving at the same time as Danny Wilson, Steadman presided over the worst performing Cardiff defence in the modern era last season, conceding 705 points over 30 games at an average of 23.5 points per game.
With strict financial restrictions being placed on the playing and coaching budgets by the senior management at the Blues finding a replacement was always going to be difficult, and the WRU have now stepped in to offer the services of Edwards.
The exact financial arrangement between the club and the union is unclear at this point, but after the WRU was not able to secure Cardiff any of Leigh Halfpenny, Tomas Francis or Jamie Roberts on an NDC, it’s thought they are largely funding the appointment of Edwards to this part-time role.
Speaking to the official Cardiff Blues website, Danny Wilson said, “Shaun will be a great addition to Cardiff Blues. His record speaks for itself and I am sure he will have a big impact.
“Defence is an area we have to improve if we want to take the next step and qualify for the European Champions Cup.
“Shaun has an invaluable wealth of experience, which will be hugely beneficial, and will play an important role in developing the defensive coaches and leaders of the future. I would also like to thank the Welsh Rugby Union for their support in this appointment.”
Good luck to Shaun Edwards in re-shaping this misfiring defence. If he is successful it could well be a defining part of our season, come on Cardiff!!