McBryde sings Wales pack’s praises

Date published: February 15 2016

Robin McBryde has revealed that the old heads in the Welsh squad are having a major impact on the performances of the younger players blooded in the red-hot atmosphere of the 2016 Six Nations.

The Wales forwards coach was delighted with the ability of his pack to cope with the Scottish eight in last weekend's 27-23 triumph at the Principality Stadium and singled out the scrum for some special praise.

"We were very pleased with the performance of our scrum," McBryde told the Welsh Rugby Union's official website.

"We met with George Clancy during the week and there were certain little changes that had come down from him about having a gap, whereas in Ireland Jerome Garces was happy with full engagement.

"I can't speak highly enough of our relatively young front row for being able to adapt to George's interpretation during the game and be as effective as they were. 

"The measure of a good front row is being able to problem solve on the pitch and we were able to do that.

"They were up against a very experienced front row, as we saw against England, and I thought was outstanding for a young front row to back up their performance against Ireland.

"It was the second week in a row where the replacements did what was asked of them, to come on and have an impact on the game. 

"Players like Gethin Jenkins and Dan Lydiate are a bit more defensively orientated with their mindset and they brought that with them.

"Ken Owens and Bradley Davies were effective with ball in hand and I thought Tom Francis took a big step forward in his scrummaging ability. 

Rob Evans is learning quite a bit, not only from Gethin, but I have got to mention Paul James.

"His contribution behind the scenes has been excellent, which is a measure of Paul in that he is able to do that and not be bitter about selection. 

"He realises that the game and team is bigger than him.

"Behind the scenes, everyone is contributing. 

"You saw how effective we were in defending the line-outs and that was down to how much work people are doing behind the scenes, which is making a big difference."

Now McBryde is getting ready to prepare his pack for their biggest challenge of the season against a massive French side. France kept their Grand Slam hopes alive with a 10-9 home win over Ireland to back up their opening day victory over Italy.

"I believe they came close to getting a penalty try from their scrum. 

"We know any French team prides itself on their scrum, that doesn't change," said McBryde.

"We know we have got to step up, or keep things up, but I genuinely feel as a pack of forwards we have raised the bar, not only in the scrum, but defensively at line-out time as well. 

"We didn't give Scotland any sort of change or platform to work from, which was hugely pleasing.

"Sometimes size can work against you with regards to how flexible you are. 

"Certainly the height of the scrum plays a part and the lower you can scrummage the more effective you can be.

"All credit to the groundsman here at the Principality Stadium, the pitch was fantastic so there is no excuse for any collapsed scrum. 

"That is two weeks now where the scrum has been pretty positive and it hasn't taken away from the spectacle of rugby."