Betsen waxes lyrical over 'unbelievable' Edwards ahead of Cardiff return

By Sports Desk February 22, 2020

Serge Betsen feels the "unbelievable" Shaun Edwards has already made a big impact since he was appointed France defence coach and declared "this is just the beginning".

Edwards was lured across the English Channel to join a new-look Les Bleus coaching set-up under Fabien Galthie after 12 years as Wales defensive guru.

It was clear that the hugely respected, no-nonsense 53-year-old has already stamped his authority early in his new role with the manner in which France defended for their lives in a victory over England in their Six Nations opener.

Edwards returns to Cardiff on Saturday for France's showdown with his former employers at the Principality Stadium on what promises to be a pivotal weekend in the battle for the title.

Betsen has first-hand experience of Edwards' coaching skills from his time at Wasps and the former France flanker has paid tribute to the Englishman.

He told Omnisport: "Shaun Edwards used to be my coach at Wasps. He coached me for three years, he's an unbelievable coach, very passionate and very effective with what he does.

"He's one of the best defensive coaches in the world and everybody who he coaches, you can see the impact he has made. I'm looking forward to seeing how he is going to empower the French players for this game because it's really fine margins and those margins are so important.

"I don't feel he'll be looking to use his past experience with Wales as an advantage so much, but what he is really good at [is] empowering people and he'll make sure the players know how to be the best they can be."

Betsen revealed Edwards asked to pick his brains before embarking on his new challenge.

"I really appreciated the fact that Shaun asked to meet with me before he went to France, to try to understand the French mentality, et cetera," he added.

"As a Frenchman and someone who understands his coaching philosophy, I think he made a very good decision to try to understand the people he would be working with and the culture, to ensure he can adapt himself and make a difference.

"We saw the impact he has made in the game against England, not so much against Italy. He brings to the team with instilling discipline, effectiveness, attention to detail and this is just the beginning.

"What people remember from Shaun Edwards is the blitz defence and I want to see the French team being able to apply that at some point."

Related items

  • Scotland rugby great Dougie Morgan dies Scotland rugby great Dougie Morgan dies

    Former Scotland captain Dougie Morgan, who went on to coach the team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, has died at the age of 73.

    The announcement came from Scottish Rugby, which said Morgan died in an Edinburgh hospital on Saturday after a long illness.

    Morgan came to the fore as a scrum-half who won 21 caps for Scotland from 1973 to 1978 and twice played for the British and Irish Lions, both times on the 1977 tour of New Zealand.

    Scottish Rugby said it was "immensely saddened" to learn of his death.

    As head coach, Morgan led Scotland to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1995, their campaign ending with a 48-30 defeat to New Zealand in Pretoria.

    The Scots also threatened a Five Nations Grand Slam in the same year but Morgan's men lost to England at Twickenham in the championship decider.

    Morgan went on to serve as team manager after Ian McGeechan took over as head coach.

    McGeechan told scottishrugby.org: "On and off the field he was a great friend and companion. I have memories I will always cherish and be very thankful for knowing Dougie."

    Former Scotland and Lions player and coach Jim Telfer hailed Morgan's "outstanding contribution to Scottish international rugby", describing him as "a true friend".

    England's former captain Bill Beaumont said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of his former Lions team-mate's death.

    Current Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Dougie was a hugely popular figure in his time as manager of the national team, someone who enjoyed having a laugh with the players, although he kept his natural competitive instinct whenever we took him on at pool or on the golf course.

    "He has contributed a huge amount to Scottish rugby and he’ll be sorely missed.”

  • Coronavirus: Rugby Australia wants fair deal for players after 'positive' talks over pay cuts Coronavirus: Rugby Australia wants fair deal for players after 'positive' talks over pay cuts

    Rugby Australia (RA) declared "good progress" had been made as emergency pay talks with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) continued, though an agreement is yet to be reached between both parties.

    The governing body recently stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months - a move described as "the toughest decision in the game's history" - as it deals with the cost of the coronavirus crisis that has halted the Super Rugby season.

    Remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours, with chief executive Raelene Castle agreeing to a 50 per cent salary cut, while other executives will receive 30 per cent less from April 1 until June 30.

    In a statement, RA said "positive and robust" negotiations were held with RUPA again as they aim to work out a "fair and reasonable" deal for players during the unprecedented circumstances created by the global pandemic.

    "Representatives of Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players Association met again today and made good progress in the process of negotiating an emergency and interim pay deal in response to the global COVID-19 crisis," a statement read.

    "Talks were positive and robust, with both parties agreeing to continue to move negotiations forward with ongoing discussions scheduled for this week. 

    "Rugby Australia remains focused on securing a fair and reasonable deal with the players that will help protect the long-term future of our game.

    "We also welcome recent comments by World Rugby as it assists all national unions to navigate through this very difficult time.

    "The players understand that the burden must be shared by everyone in our game and we will look to reach an agreement which is fair and reasonable given the extraordinary circumstances we are in."

    A plan was put in place to start a five-team domestic competition during the suspension of Super Rugby, but that will not happen until the start of May at the earliest.

  • Cheslin came through so much – Van Niekerk reflects on Springboks' 'amazing' Rugby World Cup triumph Cheslin came through so much – Van Niekerk reflects on Springboks' 'amazing' Rugby World Cup triumph

    Wayde van Niekerk says it was "an amazing inspiration" to see South Africa win the Rugby World Cup – especially as the team contained friends and family.

    The Springboks triumphed 32-12 over England in the final in Yokohama on November 2 last year to become world champions for the third time.

    Olympic 400-metre champion and world-record holder Van Niekerk says the players deserve all the accolades and sponsorship bonuses they have received for their momentous success.

    "It's been an amazing inspiration for not just myself but the entire country, and yet another spark for myself as a South African to want to achieve great things," he told Stats Perform.

    "I'm quite close friends with a few players and it's great to see how their lives have changed and the blessings and the sponsors and so on that are coming their way. It's amazing, it's well deserved and it's great."

    Van Niekerk is friends with several key South Africa players, including captain Siya Kolisi, and he is a cousin of Cheslin Kolbe.

    Kolbe battled back from injury in time to play against England and went on to score the final try of the match, capping a terrific 2019 that saw him nominated alongside eventual winner Pieter-Steph du Toit for World Rugby's Player of the Year award.

    Van Niekerk recalled: "Thinking back to Cheslin's final try: he's come through so much, moving to France, thinking that he wouldn't make the SA team, and just wanting to go and enjoy his rugby and then getting selected for the World Cup.

    "The final try was amazing but let's be honest, his entire tournament, I feel like he was one of the players of the tournament and one of the highlights of the Rugby World Cup.

    "I think it's such a blessing and such an amazing blessing to be associated with such great people, like Siya and Cheslin, it's lovely to be associated with them and draw off of them and use them as inspiration for myself, coming back from injury and wanting to do great things for my country the way they did."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.