McBryde: We’re moving at a nice pace, we’re not standing still

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McBryde: We’re moving at a nice pace, we’re not standing still

For Robin McBryde, less is more when it comes to coaching The British & Irish Lions.  

And the Welshman hopes that light approach can inspire his pack to go toe-to-toe against the Springboks this summer.

McBryde is already hard at work preparing the forwards for the Castle Lager Lions Series next month but admits his job is almost redundant due to the quality and experience at his disposal.

That is until he thinks about the size of the task they face. South Africa may not have played a Test match since winning the World Cup in 2019 but their pack is still feared, and England’s players will not forget scrumming against them any time soon.

Gallery: Inside The British & Irish Lions training camp in Jersey

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McBryde has overseen three training sessions in Jersey – where the Lions are based ahead of their clash with Japan next weekend – and he admits he is loving every second as he looks to get his side into shape.

“You’re working with the best forwards across the British and Irish isles. They’ve been a great bunch to work with so far,” the Leinster assistant coach said.

“I’ve asked them to take on a bit more ownership with regards to their roles to provide clarity because they’ve got great experience within the forward pack. It’s second to none.

“I’ve coached against the majority of them when I was in the Wales job. And obviously with Leinster I’ve been working with a few of the Irish boys really closely.

“It’s great to be working with them day to day, getting into their minds to see how they see the game and then putting into place what works for them.

“As a coach, I just want to step out of the way and help them get to where they want to be and bring out the best in themselves. I’m just trying to channel that without going too far out on any tangent.

“You want them to express themselves in the best way possible. I’ll try to keep out of their way as much as I can.

“From the players and coaches who have been here before, the message across the board has been to keep things simple and low key and then keep adding things as the tour goes on. We’re moving at a nice pace, we’re not standing still.”

McBryde knows the Springboks won’t be standing still either, even though he has no tape to study since the World Cup.

However, he knows exactly what to expect when the series commences.

“You look back at their match against Japan, the semi-final against Wales and the final against England and you can see they’re a very hard, physical team to break down,” he said.

“It will be a big challenge for our pack. Set-piece time we saw how effective they were and how big a part the scrum played in the final.

“They pretty much lock off the middle and tail of the lineout from an attacking point of view. Defensively they’re very strong and well organised.

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“The maul played a big part in them winning that last penalty against Wales in the semi-final.

“They have six forwards on the bench and whether or not they come up with a different name for the ‘Bomb Squad’, they have depth in the front rows.

“It’s about nailing the basics and making sure we’re 100 per cent clear of what we’re working towards.”

McBryde admits he hasn’t had a chance to explore Jersey but he has had time to jump in the sea.

His players have enjoyed slightly more downtime though and for that he credits Head Coach Warren Gatland for striking the perfect balance.

“It’s vital. You have to get the balance right. The amount of work they got through on the first two days, they needed a break,” he added.

“With all the monitoring going on, there is nobody better than Gats when it comes to looking after the players.

“The strength and conditioning team won’t push the players too far. It’s getting the balance.

“It’s about hard work but then knowing the sessions won’t go too long. Having the trust among the players is vital.”

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