‘Wales must target Vunipola’ – McBryde

Date published: March 4 2016

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Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde believes his side are going to have target England number eight Billy Vunipola when they face Eddie Jones' men at Twickenham next weekend.

Vunipola has been in devastating form in the Six Nations so far, making over 50 carries combined against Scotland, Italy and Ireland in England's unbeaten Six Nations start.

"He (Vunipola) is a big man, and in the first three games he's been very effective for them as a ball-carrier. So we are going to have to target him," McBryde told reporters.

When asked how they would narrow the Saracens number eight's space and if man-marking would work on Vunipola, McBryde added: "I think it is a bit harder in rugby.

"You will have to talk to Shaun (Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards) about that – that's his area of expertise. If you give him (Vunipola) too much room, he is going to be effective.

"Eddie is quite a shrewd character. He probably knows teams are going to target Billy, so they will have Plan B up their sleeves.

"Billy has been as effective as he's ever been."

Wales' own hard-running number eight, Taulupe Faletau – also Vunipola's cousin – has also displayed impressive performances during the tournament.

The Welsh loose forward's presence should bring some solace to the Welsh, boasting impressive tackle-count stats.

"I can't speak highly enough of Toby (Faletau), he has matured a hell of a lot, and he is still maturing as well," " McBryde said. 

"He is part of that back-row group that are constantly asking questions of each other and looking for small little advantages that they can bring to their own game.

"His work defensively in the lineouts has really come on leaps and bounds, and he is proving to be the full package at the moment. He is pretty much one of the first names on the team-sheet at the moment."

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