Friday 15 December 2017

Wales assistant coach 'suspended over Irish folk song bust-up'

Punished: Shaun Edwards has reportedly been banned and fined. Photo: Getty Images
Punished: Shaun Edwards has reportedly been banned and fined. Photo: Getty Images

Brendan Gallagher

The mystery of Shaun Edwards' absence from Wales' disappointing defeat in Paris has deepened following reports it could be connected with a fellow member of the Welsh back-room staff singing an Irish folk song on the team bus after their win against Ireland earlier this month.

Edwards was banned for a week, and fined, after the alleged incident with sports scientist Fergus Connolly, who was also reportedly suspended for a similar length of time.

The WRU, claiming it has nothing to do with them and is simply a case of players utilising a code or protocol, have refused to comment and coach Warren Gatland would not be drawn on the incident, saying only that it had been dealt with in-house.

According to the latest unsubstantiated reports, published in Wales Online, the altercation started between the two men on the team bus on the way home. Edwards has refused to speak about the incident thus far, which could have important implications over the future of his career with Wales.

The news of Edwards' absence, both in Paris and the immeidate build-up to the game, broke a couple of hours before Wales took on Les Bleus at the Stade de France, where they disappointingly lost 28-9.

Coach Warren Gatland resented being questioned on the incident after the game, saying only that it was "an internal matter".

Former skipper Ryan Jones said "it had been dealt with in-house", and current captain Matthew Rees simply refused to talk and shook his head when questioned.

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