Wales coach Shaun Edwards tells talkSPORT clarity over his Wigan Warriors future will arise in the coming days

20 Mar

Shaun Edwards has told talkSPORT he will offer clarity on his uncertain future in the coming days, after revealing he hasn’t signed a contract with Wigan Warriors.

The Super League club announced in August that Edwards, their former player, would become head coach in 2020 when his current role as Wales defence coach comes to an end.

Shaun Edwards has not signed a contract with Wigan

However, after helping Wales win the Six Nations Grand Slam on Saturday, the former scrum-half claimed he will be unemployed after the World Cup this summer – because the Warriors failed to finalise his return to rugby league.

Edwards would subsequently become available for a role in the England set-up, which he has been linked to alongside Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

Wigan, clearly stunned by Edwards’ comments, declared their intention to speak with him as a matter of urgency, and the Englishman today offered some clarity on talkSPORT.

“I’m going to speak to Wigan over the next few days,” he told Jim White.

Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards have been linked with England

“I’ve not signed a contract and I’ve been conversing with the chairman and there’ll be a statement in the next few days.”

He added: “I need to come down to Earth.

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  • Germany vs Serbia (Wednesday) – talkSPORT 2
  • Kazakhstan vs Scotland (Thursday) – talkSPORT 2
  • England vs Czech Republic (Friday) – talkSPORT
  • Walsall vs Barnsley (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2
  • Shrewsbury vs Portsmouth (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2
  • Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland (Saturday) – talkSPORT 2
  • San Marino vs Scotland (Sunday) – talkSPORT 2
  • Netherlands vs Germany (Sunday) – talkSPORT 2

“It’s like having five Challenge Cup finals on the bounce being in the Six Nations because of the size of crowd.

“I need time to think and evaluate the situation.”

More to follow…

Wigan Warriors 8-20 Sydney Roosters: Sydney punish poor Wigan start to win World Club Challenge

17 Feb

Wigan paid the price for a woeful start as they went down 20-8 to Sydney Roosters in the 25th World Club Challenge at the DW Stadium.

Former Australia Test threequarter Brett Morris took advantage of two defensive blunders to score two tries inside eight minutes of his debut and went on to complete a hat-trick before half-time as the Roosters established a 14-4 lead.

Boyd Cordner hoisted the trophy aloft

The Super League champions rallied after their dreadful opening and tries from wingers Tom Davies and Liam Marshall gave them hope but they had left themselves too much to do.

Morris was named man-of-the-match, repeating his feat from the 2011 final when he scored two tries for St George Illawarra as they beat Wigan, also at the DW Stadium.

Wigan had hoped to set a new mark with a fifth win on their record-equalling eighth appearance in the annual global challenge but it is the Roosters who maintained their 100 per cent record with a fourth triumph to draw level with their hosts and Melbourne Storm.

The Roosters’ victory, which followed their 36-14 win over the Warriors in Sydney in 2014, is the 12th by Australian clubs going back to 1987 and, perhaps more significantly, a ninth in the last 11 years.

Brett Morris scored a hat-trick

Not all the Australian clubs have taken the concept seriously but Roosters coach Trent Robinson showed he meant business by taking his squad to Paris for a training camp en route to England and he was able to field 13 members of the side that beat Melbourne 21-6 in last September’s NRL Grand Final.

However, it was the one newcomer who stole the limelight, with Morris, who got his chance in the absence of centre Latrell Mitchell, making a blistering start to his Roosters career.

He shrugged off the attempted tackle of Oliver Gildart and Thomas Leuluai to score the opening try after only three minutes and doubled his tally five minutes later, stretching out of a four-man tackle to plant the ball over the line.

Prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho kicked one conversion to put the visitors 10-0 ahead and stun the home crowd but the Wigan fans were on their feet when hooker Sam Powell was tackled high and late by prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

Liam Marshall gave Wigan hope

The big Kiwi international got away with a lecture from referee Robert Hicks but Wigan made the most of back-to-back penalties to build pressure on the visitors’ line and it paid off after 19 minutes when half-backs Leuluai and George Williams worked the ball out wide for Gildart to get Davies over for a much-needed try.

But Zak Hardaker was unable to add the conversion and the Warriors’ brave fightback was halted by Morris, who was crafted sufficient spaced by half-backs Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary to complete his hat-trick nine minutes before the break.

An interception from centre Dan Sarginson and a one-on-one ball steal by skipper Sean O’Loughlin gave Wigan renewed hope early in the second half.

Daniel Tupoue added Sydney’s fourth

The Roosters were forced into some desperate defence to keep their line intact and Wigan were equally resolute, holding substitute Nat Butcher up over the line and forcing winger Matt Ikuvalu into touch when he threatened at the corner.

Taukeiaho kicked a 40-metre penalty midway through the second half to extend the Australian club’s lead but Marshall kept Wigan’s hopes alive with a 65th-minute try in which he made the most of a poor pass by Williams to touch down at the corner.

It was never going to be enough, though, and left winger Daniel Tupou had the final say when he plucked Keary’s kick out of the air to score the Roosters’ fourth try four minutes from the end.

Wigan Warriors: Super League champions docked two points ahead of 2019 season

30 Jan

Super League champions Wigan Warriors have been docked two points for a salary cap breach.

The breach occurred during 2017 and the penalty, which includes a £5,000 fine, relates to six separate payments totalling £14,700, which were not declared to the Rugby Football League.

Super League champions Wigan have been docked two points

It means that Wigan Warriors, now under new head coach Adrian Lam, will begin their title defence at St Helens on Thursday night on minus two points.

The RFL says the club were charged with breaches in late 2018, following the audit of the 2017 salary cap, in relation to a number of payments that were not declared, including the payment of agent fees and a flight allowance.

Dom Manfredi celebrates scoring a try for Wigan during the Super League Grand Final

The Warriors initially disputed that these payments were relevant to the salary cap, leading to the establishment of the independent tribunal, but then admitted prior to the tribunal that all but one of the payments should have been included in their salary-cap valuation for the season.

Wigan intend to appeal against the points deduction, arguing it is disproportionate.

The club claim the breach was due to an administrative error arising from six small invoices of between £2,000 and £3,000 for agents’ fees which were overlooked and meant they exceeded the £1.825million cap by 0.8 per cent.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: “This is not an integrity or dishonesty issue, purely an administrative error by a new financial team in an exceptionally busy and disruptive circumstance.

“This breach clearly did not affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2017 yet the immediate deduction of two points does affect the competitive balance of the competition in 2019.”

Wigan 12-4 Warrington: Warriors secure fifth title with victory over Wolves in Super League Grand Final

13 Oct

Wigan coach Shaun Wane went out on a high as his side managed to grind out a fifth Super League title – beating Warrington 12-4 in an error-strewn but entertaining Grand Final.

The hero was Warriors winger Dom Manfredi, who scored two of his side’s three tries after being out of the game for more than two years with a career-threatening knee injury.

This is Wigan’s fifth Super League title

The Wigan players attempted to play down the sentimental factor in the build-up but the tears at the end of an absorbing contest told a different tale as they joyously celebrated with Wane, who will now go into rugby union with a third Grand Final ring.

There was also a fitting finale for Sam Tomkins, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton but there were tears of a different kind for the Wolves as they slumped to a fourth defeat in as many Grand Finals.

Tyrone Roberts, George King and Bodene Thompson were all on the losing side in their final match for Warrington, who also fell agonisingly short in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in August.

The drama unfolded on an unseasonably balmy evening in Manchester where it was red-hot out in the middle.

This is Warrington’s fourth defeat in as many Grand Finals

Tempers were frayed throughout the first half and appeared to boil over as the teams went down the tunnel at half-time.

The Rugby Football League says the fracas, which appeared to be sparked by a push from Warrington centre Bryson Goodwin on Wigan full-back Morgan Escare, will be included in the match commissioner’s report and scrutinised on Monday.

In the fiery contest, Tomkins went desperately close to becoming the first man to be sin-binned in a Grand Final as he escaped with warnings from referee Robert Hicks for a trip on Goodwin and using his knees to the head of Daryl Clark.

Yet in between the spats and a flurry of handling errors, watching England head coach Wayne Bennett, who was seen chatting with England rugby union coach Eddie Jones at half-time, will have appreciated the flashes of creative brilliance from three members of his squad chosen to face New Zealand.

Warrington full-back Stefan Ratchford’s cut-out pass got former Wigan winger Josh Charnley over for the game’s first try while classy centre play from Oliver Gildart worked Manfredi over for an equalising score and Wigan’s other winger Tom Davies touched down an inch-perfect kick from George Williams to put his side in front.

There were also acts of bravery worthy of such a big occasion, notably from Wigan scrum-half Thomas Leuluai, who went off with a head knock six minutes before half-time but returned for the start of the second half, and Manfredi who sustained a nasty facial cut while forcing his opposite number Tom Lineham into the corner flag but was thrust back into the action after undergoing repairs.

Trailing 8-4 at the break, Warrington lost much of their direction in the second half and relied on the cutting thrust of man of the match Ratchford to find a way through the Wigan defence, where he found replacement full-back Escare an immovable last line of defence.

The kicking game of Williams kept the Warriors on the front foot and the Wolves suffered a blow when Roberts was forced off with a knee injury 15 minutes from the end.

Manfredi’s late try secured the triumph for Wigan

Wigan’s best scoring chance in the second half came from a break by Escare, who was stopped in his tracks by the excellent Ratchford, while the Frenchman made a hash of a drop-goal attempt and Tomkins was wide with an ambitious penalty shot from almost halfway.

However, Wane’s nerves were finally settled four minutes from the end when Manfredi took Tomkins’ pass to dive over for his second try and the outgoing coach punched the air in celebration.

St Helens’ Ben Barba named 2018 Man of Steel ahead of return to Australia

9 Oct

St Helens full-back Ben Barba has been named 2018 Steve Prescott Man of Steel ahead of his return to his homeland of Australia.

The 29-year-old was voted Super League’s outstanding performer this season by a poll of his fellow players and presented with the award at the annual ceremony in Manchester.

Barba has been named Man of Steel ahead of his return to Australia

Barba, who held off competition from club-mate James Roby and Wigan forward John Bateman, is cutting short his stay in Super League after becoming homesick and will play for North Queensland Cowboys in 2019.

He made a blistering start to the season with a string of man-of-the-match performances to put Saints on their way to winning the League Leaders’ Shield.

The former Cronulla and Brisbane full-back is only the second player to win both the Man of Steel and the NRL equivalent, the Dally M, which he earned in 2012 during a spell with Canterbury Bulldogs.

Former Hull KR forward Gavin Miller won the Dally M Award as a Cronulla player in 1988, two years after being named Man of Steel.

Barba, who was Super League’s top tryscorer with 28 touchdowns, is the first Australian to win the award since former Wigan winger Pat Richards in 2010 and the sixth in all.

He is the eighth St Helens winner of the prestigious award, which was introduced in 1977.

Wigan’s Shaun Wane was named coach of the year for the first time after steering the Warriors to a fifth Grand Final in seven seasons in his farewell campaign at his hometown club, and Castleford’s 19-year-old half-back Jake Trueman was named young player.

Super League news: Wigan announce coach Shaun Wane to leave at the end of the 2018 season
Wane has been named coach of the year for the first time just before he leaves Wigan

Castleford’s Georgia Roche, 17, made history be becoming the inaugural winner of the Woman of Steel award.

Warrington were named club of the year for not only reaching both the Grand Final and the Challenge Cup final but for their off-field work which includes a leading role in the formation of Physical Disability Rugby League.

Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons discussing idea of playing Betfred Super League match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp

27 Sep

Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors are reportedly in talks to play a Betfred Super League match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp next season.

It is understood the two clubs have agreed to the prospect and are negotiating with Barcelona to find a weekend that suits all parties.

Catalans took on Warrington Wolves at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium in 2009

Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona’s chairman, invited Catalans to play at the Nou Camp after the club paraded the Challenge Cup at the stadium on Sunday.

A venue swith would have to be approved by the Rugby Football League, but according to Sky Sports News the organisation is backing the idea.

It would be the first time the Nou Camp has hosted a Rugby League game.

However, Catalans played Warrington in the city’s Olympic Stadium in 2009 in what was the first ever Rugby League match to be played in Spain.

 

Wigan Warriors full-back Zak Hardaker charged with drink driving just six weeks before cocaine suspension expires

27 Sep

Zak Hardaker has been charged with drink-driving, his club Wigan Warriors have confirmed.

In a short statement, the club confirmed the full-back would appear in court on October 11 after being charged on Tuesday.

Hardaker in action before his ban

Wigan announced Hardaker’s signing in May, effective from November, as he serves a 14-month ban for cocaine use.

Castleford sacked the 2015 Man of Steel following his positive drugs test on the eve of last season’s Grand Final defeat to Leeds.

Speaking at the time of his Warriors switch, Hardaker said: “I believe things happen for a reason and now I’m looking forward to this move to Wigan.”

But Wigan said on Thursday: “The player is co-operating with the Police investigation. Wigan Warriors will allow the legal process to take its course.”

The 26-year-old was just two months away from completing a 14-month ban after testing positive for cocaine in September last year. The club said he would be permitted to train with them two months before that.

Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan said: “This wasn’t a decision that we made lightly.

“We recognise the serious nature of this incident and our choice in offering this opportunity should not be seen as condoning his actions in any way.”

Lenagan added: “We had extensive conversations with Zak and his family before making our offer.”

Wigan sign Barrow prop Joe Bullock on three-year deal

31 Jul

Wigan have signed prop Joe Bullock from Barrow on a three-year deal.

The 25-year-old front rower becomes the Warriors’ second recruit from the Championship following the signing of Swinton centre Chris Hankinson and will link up with them ahead of the 2019 campaign.

Bullock, who started his career as an outside back in Wigan’s academy before moving to Leigh, has excelled at Barrow, where he was nominated for the League One Player of the Year in 2017.

Wigan executive director Kris Radlinksi said: “Joe is an explosive, hard-running front-row forward who has developed and proven himself in the Championship.

“He’s played in the lower leagues – which is always a great apprenticeship for a prop forward – so we think he’ll bring an edge and physicality to our front-row options next season.

“He’s had another impressive season for Barrow, so we firmly believe that he is ready to take the step-up to Super League level and we’re excited to offer him the opportunity to do so.”

Bullock will join Wigan at the end of the current season

Bullock said: “I’m really excited to be joining Wigan Warriors. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into training with the rest of the squad and seeing what the future will bring at this amazing club.”