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Irish players don't work as hard as their Welsh counterparts claims Lions coach

By Ian Cameron
Robin McBryde Photo by Steve Haag/PA Images via Getty Images)

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British & Irish Lions forwards coach Robin McBryde says that when it comes to rugby, the Welsh are harder workers than their Irish counterparts.

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McBryde is the current forwards coach at Leinster and has amassed significant experience coaching both elite Welsh and Irish professional rugby players, and he reckons the Welsh boys have the edge when it comes to graft.

In an interview with the BBC, the former Wales hooker said that Irish players are more likely to challenge the thought process behind training and are more inquisitive.

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“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.”

Capped 37 times for Wales, McBryde also admits the Irish have the edge when it comes to detail and tactical preparation.

“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.”

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Despite the apparent difference in work ethic, McBryde isn’t planning on leaving Dublin anytime soon. Quite the opposite.

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

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“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.”

The 51-year-old was part of Wales’ 2005 Grand Slam-winning team before retiring later that year after a career that also saw him play 250 games for Llanelli and then Scarlets.

A British & Irish Lions player on the 2001 Tour to Australia, his time as at tourst was ended early by injury, but not before securing his place in the Lions’ record books as part of the side that defeated Western Australia 116-10.

He would become an integral part of Warren Gatland’s Wales coaching team, winning three Grand Slams (2008, 2012 and 2019) and a Six Nations Championship (2013) in a 13-year career in the Wales coaching setup.

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