Edwards named in new look French coaching team

Montgesty (France) (AFP) –


Wales' former defence coach Shaun Edwards was named by new France coach Fabien Galthie as an integral part of his new look staff on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old, who won 36 caps for Great Britain as a rugby league player, was involved in the Wales set-up following the appointment of Warren Gatland as head coach in 2007.

Speaking in stumbling French at the announcement in Galthie's home village, Edwards said France, who were edged 20-19 by Wales in the quarter-finals, had made "great progress" at the World Cup in Japan.

"We expected France to play from everywhere and our plan was to suffocate them," Edwards told reporters.

"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."

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.

Galthie, who has inherited the role of coach from Jacques Brunel, also confirmed former France captain Raphael Ibanez, who played under Edwards when the Englishman was coaching Wasps, as the general manager of the team.

Laurent Labit, who has coached Castres and Racing 92 to the Top 14 title, is the attack coach while former France hooker William Servat is also included.

Galthie and his team are charged with leading France through the next four years to the next World Cup which will be held on home soil in 2023.

"The endgame is to become again a major nation in world rugby, to win matches and win titles so we can be in the top three in the world," said Galthie.

Their first test will be against England in Paris in the Six Nations on February 2.