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McBryde ready to face former coach Hansen

McBryde ready to face former coach Hansen

Robin McBryde will be stepping down as forwards coach after the World Cup. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

  • Robin McBryde played under Steve Hansen during the latter's time in charge of Wales
  • McBryde is now forwards coach under Warren Gatland with Wales
  • Wales will face New Zealand in the third place play-off on Friday

Go back 16 years and Steve Hansen was the coach with Robin McBryde one of his go-to men at hooker as Wales travelled Down Under for the World Cup.

They will meet again on Friday night, likely for the final time. Steve Hansen is set to call time on his international coaching career as he steps down from the All Blacks top job, while McBryde will end his run as Wales forwards coach.

But first, Wales will take on New Zealand in the third-place play-off in Tokyo, and for McBryde, it is the perfect opportunity to get the better of his former coach.

He said: “It would be good to get one over on Steve Hansen – he’s miserable as hell isn’t he?!

“I can say that because I know him pretty well. I’ve got the utmost respect for them as a coaching team. We go back a long way.

“I look forward to crossing paths again – and if we manage to get one over on them, then brilliant.”

Steve Hansen coached Wales prior to leading New Zealand. ©INPHO/Allsport

Victory over New Zealand would be a great send-off for McBryde, Warren Gatland and the coaching team in their final game in charge of Wales.

The All Blacks are the only side they have not beaten in the 12 years that Gatland has been at the helm.

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McBryde added: “I don’t think it would be the same if we were facing somebody else.

“But not every team gets the opportunity to face them, especially in a World Cup.

“I’m glad the game exists because it’s against the All Blacks.

“It’s the only thing we haven’t done and this is the last opportunity for us.

“Any time you face the All Blacks it will be a good encounter and a great experience.

“You can’t shy away from it, you have to embrace it – facing the haka.

“We’ve been together for five months. It’s an opportunity to go out there and show what we’ve been working on.

“It’s the last game of the World Cup, playing against the All Blacks. It’s a fantastic chance to go out there and just enjoy it.”

McBryde during his playing days facing Ireland. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The semi-final defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for Wales, having fallen just three points short of South Africa in a tight encounter in Yokohama.

But McBryde revealed that the huge support the team had received afterwards had helped ease some of the pain.

“We had a brief chat in the changing rooms, then we came back to the hotel as a group and had a fantastic welcome,” he added.

“It was a sea of red, all applauding the players back into the hotel and it’s good for the players to see that.”