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Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 13:31 UK

McBryde to lead Wales summer tour

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McBryde proud to take Wales reins

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has been appointed caretaker head coach for Wales' summer tour to North America.

The former Wales hooker takes the reins as Warren Gatland will be part of the Lions coaching staff that goes to South Africa at the same time.

Two of Gatland's Wales backroom staff, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley, are also joining Lions coach Ian McGeechan.

Wales play Canada in Toronto on 30 May before travelling to Chicago for a Test with the USA a week later.

"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," McBryde said.

"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.

Robin has proved he is entirely worthy of this opportunity

Wales head coach Warren Gatland
"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 know the American Eagles and the Canadians will be tough opposition and they will fully test our progress.

"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."

McBryde will be aided by a backroom staff including regular Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins, conditioning coach Mark Bennett and team manager Alan Phillips.

The coaching team will be supplemented by one extra caretaker assistant coach, plus one more conditioner who will all be appointed in the near future.

Gatland is confident that Wales will be in good hands during his Lions absence.

"The tour of North America will be a challenging experience, but... Robin has proved he is entirely worthy of this opportunity to step up and take on the ultimate responsibility as coach at international level," Gatland said.

606: DEBATE
"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."

Wales will get an early look at one of their summer opponents this November, when they play Canada in Cardiff.

With the Canucks also playing in red, Wales are expected to don an alternative strip for the match at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, 14 November.


see also
Gatland accepts Lions appointment
22 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Northern rocks: Canadian rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Arrested development: USA rugby
29 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby coaches
29 Mar 06 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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