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Lions coach reveals Irish players don’t work as hard as Welsh rivals

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Former Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has given his take on the difference between Irish and Welsh players.

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McBryde, who played 37 times at hooker for his country, is now in charge of the Leinster pack, having left his post with Wales when Warren Gatland departed in 2019.

Given that he now works with a large contingent of the Ireland squad in his role with Leinster, McBryde is better placed than most to have an opinion. He was also forwards coach for the 2021 Lions tour.

Ahead of the Six Nations opener between the two countries next weekend, he feels the Welsh players train harder, though the Irish players are more inquisitive.

“I’m generalising a little bit but the Welsh players don’t shy away from hard work,” he told the BBC.

“They will just get on with it. They generally don’t ask a lot of questions.

“From an Irish perspective, they don’t work as hard as the Welsh boys. I haven’t seen that level of fitness in them – and I’m generalising again now.

“However, the work that they do, the study that they do and the rugby intelligence, the amount of meetings, the length of meetings and the attention to detail. They are two different approaches.”

McBryde is in his third season at the RDS and the team have won the United Rugby Championship in his first two years.

They have also proven to be a force in Europe.

Despite that, he admits he has thought about returning to Wales but doesn’t envisage it happening at the moment.

“I’ve thought about it but I’m not going to run away yet. I’ve got unfinished business here,” he added.

“Leinster measure themselves on their success in Europe. Seven of the starting forwards that beat the All Blacks came from Leinster.

“I’m not going to run away from those types of players. It’s a dream, really.

“Look at the front row forwards I’ve got there, experienced international front row forwards.

“Good players make good coaches. You want to go somewhere where there are good players.

“We’re doing something at the moment where a player will give a quick presentation about what makes them tick and what drives them on.

“It gives you an insight into what motivates them. You’ve got Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong – it’s great for me to be on the inside looking at that.”

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