Shaun Edwards has claimed Wales almost blew their World Cup quarter-final against France – the team that are now his new employers.
The former Wales defence coach has admitted Wales’ game plan in their quarter-final in Japan – where they sneaked past France, 20-19, before losing to South Africa in the semi-final – failed to pan out as he and Warren Gatland had hoped.
Edwards – who has joined new France coach Fabien Galthie in the same role he occupied alongside Gatland for 12 years – said France made “great progress” at the World Cup.
Speaking at the announcement in Galthie’s home village, Edwards added: “We expected France to play from everywhere and our plan was to suffocate them.
“But it was France who suffocated us. You did to us what we wanted to do to you. It was a surprise.
“The French have a great attitude because there is a lot of ability.”
À , dans le Lot, Fabien Galthié et Raphaël Ibanez ont lancé leur nouvelle histoire commune en .
Avec de l’ambition, ils vont y tracer leur feuille de route pour l’avenir du #XVdeFrance.
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) November 13, 2019
Edwards will work under Galthie and alongside team manager Raphael Ibanez, who he once coached at Wasps.
“I’m happy to join France’s adventure alongside Fabien and Raphael. My goal is to maximise the speed of the defensive play in the French team. This method has already been successful in the past.”
Edwards appeared to be on the verge of return to rugby league with Wigan Warriors until he made a u-turn in April at which point he seemed likely to stay on after the World Cup with Wales when new head coach Wayne Pivac took over from Gatland.
But that role was never agreed and while he will still be involved in the familiar environment of the Six Nations next year, it will be as part of a different dressing room.
France kick off their campaign against World Cup runners-up England on February 2, with Edwards’ Welsh reunion scheduled for Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Feb 22.