Former Dame Alice Owen’s schoolboy Andy Edwards leaves Saracens for Springboks post

PUBLISHED: 13:15 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:15 06 July 2020

Andy Edwards (right) with Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

Andy Edwards (right) with Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A former pupil of Dame Alice Owens School has ended a 16-year association with Saracens – to jet off for an “unbelievable opportunity” with South Africa.

Andy Edwards will take on the position of head of athletic performance with the Springboks having initially joined Sarries as a player in 2004.

He soon moved on to be the club’s strength and conditioning coach but says he couldn’t let the South African adventure pass him by.

He said: “I can’t quite believe that I won’t be coming into work [at Allianz Park] anymore after 15 years of coaching, I’ve grown up at the club and have been a part of something that has given me some of the best times of my life.

“I have had the chance to work with some of the best players, coaches and support staff in the world but more importantly I get to call them my mates as I leave.

“I’m excited to move to Cape Town with my family and begin a new adventure with the South African national team. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for me personally and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“There are so many people I want to thank personally and will be doing that during my remaining time at the club as it will be very emotional for me when I leave.

“But right now I want to say a huge thank you to all the players, coaches and staff for all the memories we’ve shared together and everything else to make my time at the club so special.

“It has been remarkable to watch the group work so hard for so many years, I have the upmost respect for them all and I’m unbelievably proud to have played a very small part in what the team has achieved so far.”

The players themselves were lining up to praise the work of the St Albans resident.

England’s Jamie George said: “I can’t speak highly enough of Andy and the impact he has had at Saracens. Our group [class of 2008] has grown up together and it’s been amazing to see him develop into one of, if not the best, S&C coaches around.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who is as good at their job. He’s incredibly committed, knowledgeable but more importantly understanding.

“I consider him one of my closest mates and I’m gutted for him to be leaving but it’s an amazing opportunity with South Africa and one he massively deserves.”

Former Harpenden player Maro Itoje echoed the words of the Welwyn Garden City-born hooker.

He said: “Andy has been a great coach and friend to me over the last seven years whilst he has been my person coach. His knowledge of what needs to be done is second to none.

“He’s a great Saracen, he’s been here since he was very young, he knows the club inside and out and we’re very sorry to see him leave.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for him and his family to go to South Africa and I wish him all the best and he will always be missed at Saracens.”

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