Six Nations: Wales defence coach Mike Forshaw takes inspiration from predecessor Shaun Edwards

Wales defence coach Mike Forshaw says Shaun Edwards has greatly impacted his life but claims he will be doing things his way in the coaching set-up.

Edwards, who is now the France defence coach, previously held the same role with Wales with great success during his time under Warren Gatland.

Old friends

Forshaw and Edwards both played for Wigan in rugby league and have a lot of history between them.
The defence coach revealed a picture of the pair was used as an ice-breaker when he started with Wales at the end of January.

“On January 23, which was my first day here, I did a bit of an ice-breaker and showed three slides,” Forshaw said.

“One of them was a picture of me and Shaun playing together, and I said to the lads ‘if I have half the impact this fella did, then I will be doing alright’.

“I know him very well, but we haven’t really done much tactical work. I am my own man and believe in what I do myself.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Shaun. He is a good friend and we go back a long way. I had a few texts with Shaun when it was announced I was coming into this position.”

Forshaw joined the Wales set-up from Sale Sharks in the Premiership, who he believes will win the league this season.

“The job came pretty left-field, to be honest,” he added. “I have really enjoyed my first three weeks, I really have.

“I am not too despondent because we lost the first game (34-10 against Ireland). I didn’t expect fairy-tale starts anyway.

“I have just turned 53, and I thought that if there is ever going to be a job available in international rugby this is probably the one I would love to have been offered.

Right fit

“That sounds a bit corny, but it’s not. There has obviously been a lot of transition from the autumn with a lot of changes, and then obviously with Warren, I just thought it was too good an opportunity – a World cup coming up.

“I had been at Sale 10 years and I think hopefully they will go on and win the Premiership this year, to be fair.

“I spoke to my wife, I spoke to people like Shaun, Andy Farrell, and the fit was right.

“I had never met Warren Gatland, but our paths were a bit similar – like a sixth sense. I had an hour on the phone with him.

“I worked in Galway at Connacht Rugby for three years – he had worked there earlier. I have a lot of good friends in Galway who are Warren’s friends. The fit just seemed really good.”