June 11, 2018 / 5:00 AM / 9 months ago

Gatland hopes Wales defence coach Edwards stays for World Cup

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Wales vs France - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Britain - March 17, 2018 Wales head coach Warren Gatland before the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

(Reuters) - Wales coach Warren Gatland remains optimistic that Shaun Edwards will stay on as defence coach until the 2019 World Cup in Japan but would not stand in his way if another job opportunity came along.

England boss Eddie Jones is looking for a new defence coach after Paul Gustard agreed to join Premiership club Harlequins and British media reported that Edwards, who has a year left on his Wales contract, was a leading candidate for the job.

The former rugby league standout would also appeal to the Rugby Football Union (RFU), who are keen to appoint an Englishman.

“He’s committed to us until the World Cup,” Gatland told reporters. “But if other opportunities come along, he needs to consider those because he’s out of contract after the World Cup.

“There are two or three world-class defensive coaches out there and he’s definitely one of them.”

Former Wasps coach Edwards has been part of Gatland’s Wales coaching set-up since 2008, the pair winning three Six Nations titles together.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru

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