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McBryde: Autumn hurt must spur on Wales

Robin McBryde believes Wales must use their autumn of discontent as a motivational force heading into this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Wales will kick off the tournament against Ireland after losing seven successive Tests, including an autumn whitewash when Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia all won at the Millennium Stadium. On the back of that run - and a lengthy injury list - many pundits have written the reigning Six Nations Grand Slam champions off as mid-table material.

But forwards coach McBryde has underlined the deep desire to turn things around in a campaign that will see Wales play three successive away games between hosting Ireland and England. "We have spoken to the players, and Rob Howley (interim head coach) has made it clear we are on the back of seven games without a win," McBryde said.

"We cannot be happy with it. We have to make sure all members of the squad feel that pain and hurt as much as the coaches. The want to put that right has to be forefront in their minds.

"We have to take the hurt and pain we felt in the summer (Wales suffered a 3-0 Test series defeat in Australia) and autumn, and come out fighting, showing we are better than that."

Accompanying Wales' poor run has been another miserable Heineken Cup campaign for the Welsh regions. The Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues managed just three wins between them from 18 starts in making pool stage exits.

But McBryde added: "This is a fresh page and regional form should not come in it. We are together, focused on getting a positive start to the Six Nations. The Six Nations is a tournament where expectation is on everybody, especially in the first game.

"Everyone is aware of form coming into the Six Nations, everyone is aware the regions are having a bit of a tough time. We have to put that behind us and focus on moving forward.

"We had a positive start in the last Six Nations, and that is heartening. We won in Ireland. I am not sure what the expectation levels were then, but I cannot imagine they were lower than now.

"There is pressure. It is international rugby and you have to get off to a flyer. The first two games dictate the rest of the Six Nations."


From Belfast Telegraph