Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

McBryde: Wales in unknown territory

Assistant coach Robin McBryde admits Wales will be taking a big step into the unknown when they face the Eastern Province Kings on Tuesday night.

The tourists kick off their tour of South Africa in Port Elizabeth, just four days ahead of the first Test against the Springboks in Durban.

The Kings, coached by former New Zealand fly-half Carlos Spencer, are preparing for their first season in the Premier Division of the domestic Currie Cup tournament, ahead of their entry into Super Rugby in 2016.

But with no household names within the home side's 23 and a lack of match footage to go through, McBryde admits Wales have mainly focused on themselves in the build-up.

"We do not know a lot," admitted the former hooker.

"We attended a function with the foundation set up by Joost van der Westhuizen (the former South Africa scrum-half who is confined to a wheelchair after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease) on Saturday and there were a few words there about the sort of welcome we are going to be facing.

"We expect the environment to be pretty hostile and to be challenged upfront. But with regards to the knowledge of individual players, we do not have much but I think this game is about us and focusing on what we can do to the best of our abilities.

"There has been nothing recent for us to look at in terms of footage, so they are a bit of an unknown quantity, but sometimes that is not a bad thing because we have to focus on ourselves and getting things right from our point of view."

While young talents such as wing Jordan Williams, full-back Matthew Morgan and number eight Dan Baker are among the Wales starting line-up, there is also no lack of experience with the likes of Ian Evans, James Hook, Alex Cuthbert and captain Dan Lydiate to call upon.

The tourists are hoping this fixture, in addition to the recent international trial in Swansea, will ensure Wales hit the ground running come the first Test.

But McBryde knows a defeat would be a severe setback.

"The team that takes the field on Tuesday night have got a real responsibility to get the ball rolling and get us off on the right foot," he said.

"That has not been lost on them, we have prepared as well as we can, the team have looked sharp and come kick-off time we should be in a good place.

"The level has already stepped up from the trial, we have been able to work through our analysis and focus on individuals and what did and did not work.

"We know this will be a step up again but that trial game definitely served its purpose. As to how well it served its purpose, we will see. But I thought it was good for us to be prepared and go through our moves and structures."


From Belfast Telegraph