Skip to main content

Men's Rugby Union Wales can channel spirit of Grav, says Robin McBryde

ROBIN McBRYDE says “there will only be one result” on Saturday if Wales match the standards of a patriotic one-man play they watched in England’s Millennium Stadium changing room.

Wales players and members of the coaching staff and management on Monday were treated to a private performance of Grav, which is based on the life of former Wales international centre and broadcaster Ray Gravell, who died 12 years ago.

It was performed by Welsh actor Gareth J Bale — not to be confused with the superstar Wales footballer — and left McBryde emotionally recounting the Monday night memory.

“We had a fantastic experience, and we should have played straight after that, to be honest with you,” Wales assistant coach McBryde said. “It really put us in a good place, mentally wise.

“To have the players have that experience just reminded you of the reasons why some of us play rugby and why some of us who don’t play it any more miss it so much.

“If we can in any way match Gareth Bale’s performance of last night on Saturday, it doesn’t matter if the roof is open or closed, there will only be one result.

“It was a great way to kick off the week to really focus people’s minds. But we have to put it under wraps until we draw on that experience on Saturday.

“Like Grav [actor Bale] was saying last night, when Carwyn James [coach] was speaking to them [Gravell’s club Llanelli before they beat the All Blacks in 1972] ‘as a team, we have to got to think, think, think’, and we have got to do that for 80-plus minutes.

“We have got to be on top of our game. There is no hiding place on Saturday.”

Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Biggar, meanwhile, are both in training with Wales in advance of the Six Nations showdown against England.

Scarlets full-back Halfpenny has not played since suffering concussion when Wales beat Australia on November 10.

Fly-half Biggar, meanwhile, went off with his knee heavily strapped during Northampton’s Premiership victory over Sale Sharks three days ago.

Wales released Halfpenny back to the Scarlets for last weekend’s PRO14 appointment with Benetton, but he was not included in their match-day 23.

McBryde added: “They are training with us, so hopefully they will be fit enough for selection.

“Leigh was released, but didn’t play, last week. We just felt that he needed a little bit more contact, so that is what he is going to have.

“We will measure both of them as the week goes on.

“With Leigh, it is an individual case, and those discussions would take place with the medical team, the coaches and Leigh himself.

“There is no way that we would put somebody in a position that he is not comfortable with. Those discussions will take place during the week.”

Meanwhile, England have confirmed that Maro Itoje will miss Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales because of knee ligament damage.

Both Wales and England are unbeaten after two rounds of the championship, with Saturday’s clash being billed by many as a title eliminator.

Wales are also on an 11-match undefeated run, with one more victory required to break their all-time record set between 1907 and 1910.

McBryde added: “It’s a big game. England are riding high on the back of two very good performances.

“We’ve had the results, but maybe not the performances, so we have got a bit of work ahead of us.

“They [England] have started really strongly [against Ireland and France], so we have got to be able to weather the storm.

“We have got to really stand toe to toe and go at it with them.”


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 15,116
We need:£ 2,884
7 Days remaining
Donate today