Wigan legend Edwards funds RFL coaching bursary
Wigan Rugby League legend Shaun Edwards is funding a coaching bursary that will assist the development of one of the sport’s young elite coaches.
The former Wigan and Great Britain half-back has made a cash donation to the RFL which he hopes will provide the same fillip his own coaching career benefited from when he hung up his boots in 2000.
At the end of his career, Edwards was a beneficiary of a personal coaching development bursary from the RFL which he used to help forge a successful career as a rugby union coach. Now the nine-time Challenge Cup winner has repaid the RFL for their generosity by providing the finances required to give a current coach the same opportunity.
“Eleven years ago the RFL very kindly provided me with the finances to travel to Australia and spend some time learning from Wayne Bennett when I had been out of work and without a coaching job for about a year,” said Edwards. “That experience provide me with a great experience and great advice which helped me in my coaching career.
“Now I’m employed and working in the coaching environment I thought it only right that I repay the kindness the RFL showed to me by giving a current young coach the same opportunity that was afforded to me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the RFL for the support they gave me and the experience which went a long way to bettering me and I’m happy to be able to give another coach the chance to better themselves as well.”
The donation will complement the RFL’s current elite coaching bursary scheme which gives one coach per year the chance to help fulfil their maximum potential, giving them the opportunity to learn from coaches around the world.
Hull FC assistant coach Andy Hay and England Academy coach Dave Elliott have been selected as the recipients of the bursaries and they will follow in the footsteps of Francis Cummins, who attended a two-day Australian Rugby League High Performance Seminar Programme in 2010 to learn from Australian coaches such as Brian Smith, Wayne Bennett, Tim Sheens and John Lang.
“We’re very grateful to Shaun for his generosity and for giving one of our coaches the chance to further their personal development in this manner,” said RFL Director of Performance and Coaching, Jon Roberts.
“The bursary scheme is part of our Elite Coach programme which is aimed at those young British coaches who work with our elite performance or talented athletes. The programme consists of our new Level 4 qualifications, high performance workshops, player to coach project and the bursary. The early phases of the programme have been a success and this year will see the first graduates of the Level 4 qualification.
“It’s always good for coaches to take ideas from other sports and other environments around the world. There’s a seek-to-learn culture within a lot of our coaches and that’s an encouraging thing to see as we all want the sport to make forward progress.
“If we can learn a little bit of best practice from other sports and other coaches then it can only help to improve the overall quality of coaches coming through the ranks which can only be of benefit to the game.”