Shaun Edwards: Warren Gatland wants to keep coaching team

Shaun Edwards
Shaun Edwards scored 15 tries in 36 rugby league matches for Great Britain

Head coach Warren Gatland is in negotiations to keep his current Wales national coaching team in place for another four years.

Defence coach Shaun Edwards' contract expires on 31 October, while Rob Howley (attack) and Robin McBryde (forwards) have deals running until June 2016.

Gatland has completed a review after reaching the World Cup quarter-final.

"I have spoken to all the coaches ideally wanting them to stay in place until at least 2019," he said.

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There had been rumours that Edwards would leave following the World Cup.

Gatland said in a statement that speculation about individuals was "unhelpful" and added: "I am aware that as a group and as individuals they have all developed strongly over recent years and can accurately be described as world class.

"I want Wales to continue to benefit from that level of skill and excellence in the years ahead.

Rob Howley, Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards
Coaches Rob Howley, Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards were together at Wasps before teaming up with Wales

"We have already been through a significant change with the departure of our head of physical performance, Adam Beard, shortly before the Rugby World Cup, but Paul Stridgeon has proved an excellent replacement.

"It is very important to balance the need to invigorate and refresh any coaching environment with the desire to achieve continuity within a successful group.

"There has been some unhelpful speculation regarding the future of individuals within the coaching team and I would therefore ask for privacy and the process to be respected."

Departing Welsh Rugby Union group chief executive Roger Lewis hinted on Radio Wales that Edwards will be leaving his post.

"Warren Gatland is a consummate defensive technician and tactician so Wales should not worry," Lewis told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

Shaun Edwards OBE facts
Born: 17 October 1966 in WiganClubs played for (rugby league): Wigan (1983-1997), Balmain Tigers (1989), London Broncos (1997 and 1998-2000) and Bradford Bulls (1998)
Great Britain rugby league caps: 36 (15 tries)Coached (rugby union): London Wasps (2001-2011) Wales assistant (2008-)

"Also we should not worry about Shaun because he's a magical guy and he'll be sorted."

Former Wales hooker McBryde has signed a new contract until after next summer's tour to New Zealand.

Attack coach Howley is contracted until after the three-Test tour. Kicking coach Neil Jenkins is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union's staff.

Edwards has held the post since 2008, firstly on a part-time basis while head coach at Wasps before taking up the position full-time in 2011.

Ian Gough on Shaun Edwards

Edwards has helped Wales to three Six Nations titles in 2008, 2012 and 2013 - including two Grand Slams - and a World Cup semi-final four years ago.

And under his guidance during the current World Cup, Wales conceded just three tries in five matches - and are so far the only team to have not conceded a try to finalists Australia, who have averaged more than four touchdowns per game.

Edwards was offered the post of coach to England Saxons, but turned down the role in favour of his post with Wales.

He is again being linked with England following their exit from the World Cup after defeats by Wales and Australia.

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