x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

What Shaun Edwards can do for England

Once he has a foot in the door, there is always the chance he would shake up the establishment.

The major obstacle has been removed, now the ball is firmly in the English RFU's court. The question is, will they be brave enough to pursue Shaun Edwards and recruit him as part of a revamped coaching staff?

Some might doubt England even need a new specialist defence coach, given the job Mike Ford, another former league player, has done in five years in the role. Defence is perhaps the only area of England's game which has functioned adequately on a consistent basis in that time. That said, it still fell down in the seminal World Cup fixture, the quarter-final defeat to France.

Edwards, who confirmed his departure from London Wasps this week, presents a compelling case. Be it with the British & Irish Lions in South Africa, Wales at the World Cup, or in 10 trophy-heavy seasons with Wasps, his work has been sparkling. It should be a no-brainer. However, you get the sense Twickenham would be tentative about appointing such a famously abrasive coach.

It feels a little like when the English Football Association overlooked Brian Clough, so clearly the best qualified man for the top job in the 1970s, on account of the fact that he is too scary.

Edwards is tough. He knows he is good. Once he has a foot in the door, there is always the chance he would shake up the establishment.

That can be off-putting to potential employers. One thing in his favour, though, is that there is little in the way of established order at Twickenham at present.