Defence coach Edwards declines new deal with Wales rugby

CARDIFF, Wales — Defence coach Shaun Edwards declined a new contract with the Welsh Rugby Union on Thursday, and declined to say what he will do.

Edwards' 11-year tenure with the Six Nations champion will end this year after the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where coach Warren Gatland will also stand down as head coach.

"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to reach," Edwards said in a statement.

Edwards, considered among rugby's foremost defence coaches, has been linked by media to roles with England and France following a successful Six Nations in which Wales conceded the fewest points and tries.

The 52-year-old Edwards verbally agreed to become coach of rugby league club Wigan from 2020 but — after requesting more time to consider his future in March — he chose not to take up the position.

"We have won four Six Nations titles during my time with Wales, but I sincerely hope and believe that the best days are yet to come and I am fully focused on seeing what we can achieve in Japan," Edwards said.

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