The Pcubed Rugby League Varsity Match has announced rugby legend Shaun Edwards OBE as Guest of Honour at the 36th Battle of the Blues of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The game will be played at the Honourable Artillery Company in central London on Friday 4 March 2016 and is the fourth biggest Varsity Match in the Oxbridge calendar.
Edwards is the most decorated player in rugby league history, holding the record for the highest number of appearances in the Challenge Cup Final with eleven; nine of which he won. Since retiring from rugby league, he has forged an outstanding coaching career in rugby union, most recently helping Wales defeat England in the rugby union world cup.
An England schoolboy captain at both rugby league and rugby union, Edwards signed for Wigan on his seventeenth birthday, making his debut 20 days later. He finished his career with 584 first class match appearances, plus 36 caps for Great Britain, three for England and one for Ireland, including three world cups. In recognition of his work, the 1990 Man of Steel was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1996.
Since retiring from rugby league in 2000, Edwards moved to coaching rugby union and is recognised as one of the best in the world in the 15-man code. Over a ten year spell starting in 2001, Edwards was instrumental in turning London Wasps into one of the most successful English rugby union clubs in the professional era.
In 2008, Edwards joined Wales Rugby Union to focus on defence and in the course of that year’s victorious six nations tournament the side conceded only two tries. In 2009 he joined the British and Irish rugby union Lions tour to South Africa and won further six nations championships for Wales in 2012 and 2013, the former including a grand slam.
Edwards is currently part of the coaching squad in a Wales team with high expectations for a 2015 rugby union world cup.
The announcement was made by the Varsity Match’s director Mark Ramsdale, who said “we almost had Shaun last year but coaching commitments during a close six nations meant he wasn’t available. Shaun is one of the greatest players rugby league has ever seen. Tough, hardworking and an outstanding ball-player, his style of play has become synonymous with rugby league and his impact on the game of rugby union is plain to see.
“We’re delighted he is able to join us as guest of honour at the Varsity Match. I am sure the players, old boys and all our guests will enjoy hearing his thoughts on both codes.”
Edwards said “The Pcubed Rugby League Varsity Match is a unique event in the rugby league calendar. I was disappointed to not make it last year; the clubs at Oxford and Cambridge produce some of the most passionate players you could ever see on the field and it’s always a great occasion. I am very much looking forward to it.”
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