Leinster scrum coach McBryde says forwards have moved on from Twickenham

‘We all move on as a group and learn from those experiences’

The bulk of the Irish pack, including the entire frontrow, which started Ireland’s last three Six Nations games will return to the Leinster side over the course of the next two weeks.

Unsurprisingly therefore, scrum coach Robin McBryde says the lessons from the difficult day in Twickenham have already been absorbed in advance of playing Munster at Thomond Park in the URC next Saturday and Connacht at the Sportsground in their European Champions Cup Last 16 first leg six days later.

Mathieu Raynal awarded six full penalties against the Irish scrum in Twickenham and McBryde said on Monday: “We discussed it as a unit really. When you get days like that, you’ve just got to learn from them and move on. We were just keen to get their thoughts and the lessons they learned following the Six Nations.

“So it was good to hear Dan [Sheehan], to hear Tadhg [Furlong], stepping up and speaking. We all move on as a group and learn from those experiences. It’s a tough day, but if the referee, looking back, would he make the same decisions again? Who knows.”


That Leinster scrum will be a little depowered by the indefinite loss of Andrew Porter (ankle) and Rónan Kelleher (shoulder), while the province also saw Jordan Larmour (hip), James Ryan (concussion) and Ryan Baird (back) sidelined due to injuries sustained in the Six Nations.

In addition to Will Connors (knee) and Michael Milne (calf), the unlucky Dave Kearney has also again been ruled out for “a number of months” after a procedure last week for a hamstring injury.

Ross Byrne is also being assessed after going off for an HIA against Connacht last Saturday. As for the equally unfortunate Ryan, McBryde said: “He has been seen by the specialist, but everything else is just progressing – [he is] going through the protocols etc.”

Against that, Sheehan came of age as a Test hooker since replacing Kelleher in the first half of Ireland’s second game in Paris.

“I think he’s dealt with it all right. He’s turned up in the same car, in the same clothes as he used to before the Six Nations. He’s not getting too far ahead of himself,” noted McBryde.

“But it’s a good contest, isn’t it? Two competitive hookers, him and Rónan, and you’ve got some youngsters coming through as well. Dan made the most of his opportunity. So it’s just great to see, brilliant.”

The other Irish frontliners will also come back into the mix this week, and McBryde admitted that a full house next Saturday “adds a bit of spice” to what will be a step up in intensity.

“Hopefully there will be a full crowd down there so it will be quite an occasion. It will be great for spectators and good for the players as well to get that feel of being involved in front of a crowd again and being able to keep your emotions in check, which is something we’ll be looking to improve on from last week.”

After the novelty of the two-legged Connacht tie, comes a two-match sortie to South Africa.

“This next block of games, this is the final push for everything. I leave decision-making regards to selection to Leo. He’s got a great feel for it. He’s been there and done it. I’ll be taken by his lead.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times