The Pcubed Rugby League Varsity Match has announced Shaun Edwards OBE as guest of honour at the 2015 Battle of the Blues.
The announcement was made five months to the day before the 35th encounter between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The game will be played at the Honourable Artillery Company in central London on Friday 6 March 2015.
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.
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.
With further Six Nation championships for Wales in 2012 and 2013, the former including the Grand Slam, Edwards is part of the coaching squad in a Wales team with high expectations for a 2015 Rugby Union World Cup.
Making the announcement, Pcubed Rugby League Varsity Match Director Mark Ramsdale said “we’re very pleased Shaun will be able to take time out of what will be a very busy Six Nations schedule to be 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. 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.”