Wales 'circle the wagons' after betting scandal
REACTION: Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde says there has been a feeling of ‘circling the wagons’, following the Rob Howley affair.
McBryde’s fellow assistant coach Howley was sent home from the World Cup earlier this week, following an alleged breach of World Rugby’s betting regulations.
“The intensity of our training Wednesday was the best it has ever been,” McBryde said.
“There was a little bit of a feeling of circling the wagons and not allow anything to affect the environment.”
Howley, 48, has returned to Wales to assist with an investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation six, specifically betting on rugby union.
Along with McBryde, he has been a member of head coach Warren Gatland’s staff for several years. McBryde and Howley are also former Wales teammates. McBryde added: “It’s tough. We have been together for a long time.
“It’s unfortunate that he [Howley] has to go through this. He’s been a great servant. He’s a good man and a good friend. It’s sad to see someone have to go through it.”
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McBryde has praised the players’ response to Howley’s exit.
“They’re more willing to take a lot more responsibility,” McBryde said.
“They have input into training a little bit more than they would have in the past.
“Off the back of that, because of that ownership, the intensity of our training yesterday was the best it’s ever been.
“There’s a duty that we need to fulfil. The preparations have gone well up to date.
“There was a little bit of a feeling of circling the wagons and not allowing anything to influence the environment we’ve created.
“It’s important we start with a bang.”
McBryde said he had spoken with Howley before his departure from Wales’ Kitakyushu training base. “He was keen to break the news to the other coaches, rather than us finding out second-hand. He did that.
“We definitely can’t wait to get going [against Georgia on Monday]. We need to start talking about rugby again. The sooner this first game starts… once it [the World Cup] does kick-off, then there is a full weekend of rugby. That will get the ball rolling, and then the days and weeks will pass by.”
Sources: Press Association, BBC Sport & RugbyPass