McBryde to take charge of Wales next summer
October 22, 2008
McBryde (left) pictured with Shaun Edwards and Warren Gatland during a Six Nations training session earlier this year © Getty Images
The Welsh Rugby Union has appointed Robin McBryde as caretaker Head Coach of Wales for the 2009 summer tour of North America and Canada.
He steps up to the senior role for the first time in place of Warren Gatland who will be touring South Africa with the British & Irish Lions.
Robin McBryde will be joined on the tour by senior team regulars Assistant Coach Neil Jenkins, Conditioning Coach Mark Bennett, Team Manager Alan Phillips, analysts Rhodri Bown and Andrew Hughes and physiotherapists Mark Davies and Hywel Griffiths.
The coaching team will be supplemented by one extra caretaker Assistant Coach and another conditioner, who will both be appointed in the near future.
Robin McBryde said: "It is a great honour to lead Wales on tour for two important Test matches which will prove to be a challenging test of our progress as a squad.
"We know the American Eagles and the Canadians will be tough opposition and will fully test us on their home turf.
"It is inevitable that some members of our senior squad will be heading for South Africa as Lions, so the players who travel with us will be determined to make the Test starting positions their own.
"This is a great opportunity to step up and for some players to prove that our coaching strategies and processes are creating real competition for the coveted Welsh jersey.
"I will be working closely with Warren and the team in the preparation phase for the tour, but the chance to be the man in charge for the games is a challenge I am relishing.
"We work collectively as a coaching team for Wales and Warren knows my style and my input into the management system we operate."
Head Coach Warren Gatland praised McBryde as a first class coach who also possesses the senior management skills to deliver success for Wales.
He said: "Robin has proved he is entirely worthy of this opportunity to step up and take on the ultimate responsibility as coach at international level.
"He is widely known for his talent and uncompromising qualities as a player, but all of us in the national coaching team know he has a lot more to offer Wales.
"Robin has the technical expertise, the strategic understanding and the man-management skills to take on new responsibilities and challenges as a coach.
"Part of my role is to structure a coaching succession policy and that will only be achieved if key individuals are given the opportunities to develop their skills under pressure.
"The tour of North America will be a challenging experience, but I am confident that Robin and the rest of his coaching team will underscore the strategies and processes we have all discussed and refined as a team.
"We will be building towards the North America tour throughout the Six Nations so all of the coaches will have an important input into the preparations and selection for the trip.
"Robin will be his own man, but we will also be in regular contact to talk through his plans."
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "Warren had no hesitation in recommending Robin for this role and I fully support that decision.
"Robin is a proud Welshman with a formidable knowledge and understanding of the modern game. He already has wide experience as an international coach and this tour will take him on to a new level of expertise.
"The other coaches on the trip are also part of Warren's strong coaching structure and they all understand the systems thoroughly.
"While our coaches and backroom staff travelling with the British & Irish Lions will bring back a huge new store of knowledge, the team heading for North America will also reap the rewards of taking on new responsibilities with all the demands that entails.
"The WRU is particularly proud that no less than five members of the successful coaching team it has assembled have been granted the honour of coaching the British Lions.
"Warren Gatland, Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Craig White and Rhys Long go to Lions duty with our blessing and absolute approval and we regard their appointments as a great accolade for Welsh rugby.
"Their experiences on tour will help keep them at the forefront of the ever-changing world of elite rugby and pay inevitable long term dividends to Wales' preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup."
The extra role of temporary Assistant Coach for Wales' summer tour will be filled shortly and discussions are already underway to identify potential candidates.
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