Robyn McBryde tells Wales' British and Irish Lions hopefuls to raise their game
Robin McBryde has issued a clear message to Wales' British and Irish Lions hopefuls - on the day Lions head coach Warren Gatland paid them a flying visit.
Gatland will announce the Lions squad for this summer's New Zealand tour in seven weeks' time, with a number of Wales players expected to make the 10-match trip.
He was an observer at Wales' training base in the Vale of Glamorgan on Thursday as part of intensive pre-selection work.
But Wales assistant coach McBryde said players would need to "raise their game" in terms of possible Lions places as the squad reflected on suffering successive RBS 6 Nations defeats for the first time since 2010.
Last Saturday's 29-13 loss to Scotland effectively ended Wales' title hopes, and life is not about to get any easier, with Ireland arriving in Cardiff on Friday week.
"It is good to catch up with Warren," McBryde said.
"It is good to hear his thoughts on the game and good for us to have another set of eyes and just being able to discuss things. It is also a gentle reminder to the players that there are Lions eyes upon us as well.
"There is a Lions tour, and I am sure that will be at the back of the minds of the players. If there is to be any chance of them going on that tour, they have to raise their game."
McBryde admitted that the debrief following Wales' 29-13 Murrayfield mauling - they conceded 20 unanswered second-half points - had been a painful one.
"The one thing we have to do is play as a team," he added. "I hate to say it, but perhaps Scotland played more as a team than what we did.
"It has been said time and time again, it is a team game. And unless you play like a team, you are not going to succeed.
"Hopefully, we will do that. We are feeling the pain together, so hopefully that will bring us a bit tighter.
"We don't want to go through another debrief like the one we've had after both England and Scotland. Hopefully, that will focus everyone on the task in hand - Ireland, the fourth-best side in the world."
Wales have finished in the top three of every Six Nations tournament since 2011, but defeats against Ireland and final opponents France later this month would render that impossible, while also putting them outside the top eight-ranked teams ahead of May's 2019 World Cup draw.
If Wales go into the draw as world rugby's ninth-ranked team, it means they could face another punishing World Cup pool, as in 2015, when they were drawn alongside England and Australia.
"It (debrief) was pretty painful for all of us - coaches and players," McBryde said. "It's something that hasn't happened in a while, losing two games on the bounce in the Six Nations.
"It's painful, and until we get a level of performance and the next victory - hopefully in the next match - that pain is going to be there.
"The inaccuracy of the final pass let us down (against Scotland). We consistently lost the ball.
"What you don't want is the players who go out there worrying too much about making mistakes, and then they just go into their shell and play safety-first. That's not us. We are better when we go out there full of confidence, trying things.
"All we can focus on is the next two games, and the next one in particular.
"The pressure of international rugby, win or lose, is always there. It's a constant.
"Ireland are going to bring something different to Scotland, and we must be prepared. There is no magic remedy, no magic pill, you have just to roll your sleeves up and work harder until you get the next result.
"They (Ireland) did what they had to do against France (last weekend).
"They have got a strong set-piece, a strong maul and they are very clinical when they get opportunities. They have had a great run of results and back things up.
"They are consistent, have a number of experienced players and a game-plan everybody understands, so it's going to be a challenge."
It is hoped, meanwhile, that Wales lock Jake Ball will take a full part in training on Sunday after suffering from a knee complaint.