sport

Vickery backs Edwards in new role

Shaun Edwards is the right man to whip Gloucester's ailing defence into line next season, according to Phil Vickery.

Wales defence coach Edwards is understood to have held tentative talks with Gloucester over a part-time role in Nigel Davies' Kingsholm regime next season that would see him continue his international commitments.

England World Cup-winner Vickery worked under Edwards at Wasps, hailing the rugby league great as "an inspiration".

Ex-Gloucester prop Vickery believes Edwards could help transform Gloucester's porous defence: provided the former Wigan stalwart is allowed to unleash the full force of his "brutal personality".

Vickery warned Gloucester would have to devise methods to stop a part-time role blunting Edwards' impact.

"He was an inspiration for me when I went to Wasps," Vickery told Press Association Sport.

"Of all the coaches I've ever worked with he's the one I enjoyed working with the most.

"I think it's fantastic if Gloucester are talking to him, because their season has been extremely difficult.

"My only concern is that part-time role, which it would potentially have to be I'm assuming, with his Wales commitments.

"I'm not quite sure that part-time role would really suit Shaun or whether he could have full effect.

"But bringing him on board would be fantastic."

Edwards coached Wasps from 2001 to 2011, first under Warren Gatland then assuming full control in 2005.

The taskmaster Wigan-born coach linked back up with Gatland, joining the Kiwi's Wales set-up in 2008 combining international and club management duties.

Vickery joined Wasps from Gloucester in 2006, teaming up with Edwards to claim the club's second Heineken Cup title a year later.

Gloucester boss Davies has already admitted there could be changes to the club's coaching set-up for next season.

The Cherry and Whites have slumped to ninth-place in the Aviva Premiership table, suffering the league's second-worst defensive record behind only winless Worcester Warriors.

Edwards held a short-term stint with London Irish between September 2012 and January 2013, but the one-day-a-week role never really paid off as either party had anticipated.

Vickery said Edwards' forthright approach only works if he is given full licence to make changes.

"He's a very forthright man, very honourable," said Vickery.

"He has high values, and he doesn't just do things on a whim.

"I remember him coming to see us England guys at Wasps and asking us if we were happy for him to go and coach with Wales.

"It was important to him to have our blessing.

"I don't know many coaches like that.

"I guarantee you if any of us had said we were unhappy he wouldn't have done it.

"Shaun's a very strong personality, and if someone tries to take that personality away then you destroy the man.

"You have to have someone in charge who knows he's a big personality, that he's very forthright, and I mean that in the most positive of ways.

"The one thing that concerns me is if he were to come on a part-time role, it's a bit like asking for a pint of beer and someone giving you a can of shandy: it ain't quite going to be full power.

"But whatever happens, getting Shaun involved would be a great acquisition.

"Defensively Gloucester have really struggled this season, and they know - I'm sure - that has to change."