McBryde dismisses Haskell comments

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Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has dismissed James Haskell’s criticism that Warren Gatland’s squad are training too hard before their RBS 6 Nations opener in Cardiff next Friday.

England back-rower Haskell said on TalkSPORT Wales are taking a huge risk by doing an “incredible” amount of fitness ahead of the tournament and said he “almost groaned” when told about how hard Gatland’s men are working in the gym by a member of the Welsh squad he refused to name.

But McBryde said the tough fitness regime was a plan designed to bring success at this autumn’s World Cup – when England and Wales will again meet in the group stages at Twickenham – and that Gatland had decided to take a “different approach” to previous Six Nations tournaments.

“Warren has made everyone aware of where our focus is and that the World Cup is the bigger picture,” McBryde said.

“It was the approach we took into the autumn and we have plotted our course going into the Six Nations.

“The Six Nations stands alone as a tournament and we are not taking it lightly, just taking a bit of a different approach.

“It paid dividends in the autumn, although we had four games then back-to-back, and the Six Nations is over a longer period.

“Warren has experience of managing players, when and when not to train and its intensity.

“He has a big advantage over a lot of coaches and we are not far away from that balance.

“Time will tell, but there is deeper thinking behind our approach to the Six Nations than it seems on the surface.”

Bath tighthead prop David Wilson has joined an extensive England casualty list after reporting a neck problem and coach Stuart Lancaster could be without as many as 10 regulars at the Millennium Stadium.

But McBryde insists England have plenty of strength in the forwards and says French referee Jerome Garces will have a “big role to play” in controlling the battle up front.

“All their players are used to a highly competitive set-piece game every week in the Premiership and in Europe,” McBryde said.

“You only have to talk to our players who are based in England and they tell you how much scrummaging driving mauls they do.

“They will be tough to crack at the set-piece and the man in the middle will have a big role to play.

“In the last two games we have fallen on the wrong side of one referee but not the other.

“We have regular contact with the head of the referees in the northern hemisphere, and looking at Jerome Garces’ recent performances, he knows what he is looking for and we have clarity of what he looks for in the scrum.

“We have to make sure we are as legal as we can be and effective as we can.”

Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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