The former Wales front-rower is an experienced coach

Who is Robin McBryde: Ten things you should know about the Lions assistant coach

Robin McBryde’s decade-long Wales career spanned both the amateur and professional eras.

After retiring due to injury, he moved into coaching and he is part of the British & Irish Lions 2021 back-room team.

Here are a few more facts about the former hooker.

Ten things you should know about Robin McBryde

1. Hooker McBryde played on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia appearing in four games including the 116-10 win over Western Australia. But a leg injury saw him invalided out of the trip, after the match against Australia A, before the Test matches.

2. McBryde, who won 37 caps for Wales and the 2005 Grand Slam, was crowned Wales’ Strongest Man in 1992, and says the event was similar to training methods used now and helped him in his coaching career.

“If you actually see the footage, it wasn’t an out-and-out strong man competition, it was based on agricultural shows,” he said. “It’s a lot of the functional training that the boys do now, pulling and putting bags of feed in trailers, climbing up ropes and lugging poles around.”

3. McBryde has coached at Scarlets, Wales, Leinster and now the British & Irish Lions but never as head coach permanently.

However, he was in charge for Wales’ tours to North America in 2009, Japan in 2013 and games against Samoa, in Apia, and Tonga, in New Zealand, in 2017 when Warren Gatland and Rob Howley were with the Lions.

4. McBryde was born in Bangor on 3 July 1970. He worked as an overhead linesman after leaving Ysgol Tryfan School and before becoming a professional rugby player.

Robin McBryde

Wales hooker Robin McBryde in action against Scotland in 2001 (Getty Images)

5. McBryde, a fluent Welsh speaker, has carried the ceremonial Gorsedd sword during National Eisteddfod in Cardiff and was invested into the Gorsedd of Bards in 2006.

In 2007, he succeeded another Welsh international, Ray Gravell, as Keeper of the Sword, which is never unsheathed and carried by its blade as a symbol of peace.

6. McBryde played for Menai Bridge, Mold and the North Wales team plus Swansea, Llanelli and Scarlets, making his Test debut against Fiji in 1994 in Suva.

He captained Llanelli to the Welsh Cup in 1998 and the Welsh Championship in 1999.

7. McBryde joined Mold as an 18-year-old where he was coached by Denley Isaac, who had seen him at a North Wales U19 session.

McBryde later said: “I owe it all to Denley. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I could achieve what I have done in the game but Denley gave me the confidence, advice and technical knowledge to make me start to believe that I could go down to South Wales and give rugby a shot.”

8. McBryde coached at three Rugby World Cups – in 2011, 2015 and 2019 – and played in one in 2003 in Australia. Then the hooker played in four games, against Canada, Italy and the two epics against New Zealand (lost 53-37) and England, in the quarter-final in Brisbane, (lost 28-17).

His final International was the Six Nations Grand Slam game against Ireland in 2005, when he came off the bench for Mefin Davies.

9. McBryde was forced to retire from playing in August 2005 after surgery to remove a disc at the top of his spine. At the time he said: “I couldn’t even play with my boys in the garden because of the pain.”

He moved straight into coaching with the Scarlets U18 side.

10. McBryde’s mother, Diana, passed away at the age of 78 whilst he was in Japan with the Wales squad at the 2019 World Cup.

The coach remained in the Far East to help Wales’ preparations for the semi-final against South Africa, saying that is where she would have wanted him to be.

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