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Wales not expecting 'attractive rugby' from Schmidt's Ireland in Cardiff

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde says Ireland’s squad looks like a ‘very happy’ one.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Millennium Stadium

WALES ASSISTANT COACH Robin McMcBryde says he doesn’t expect Ireland to bring an open style of rugby to the Millennium Stadium tomorrow as they search for a fourth Six Nations victory in 2015.

Joe Schmidt A win of any kind is likely to have Schmidt smiling tomorrow. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

All that stands between Joe Schmidt’s side and a Grand Slam is two wins against Wales and Scotland, both on the road. Tomorrow’s clash in Cardiff would appear to be the more demanding of those ties on current form, with the Welsh buoyed by their win in Paris in round three.

There has already been much discussion around Ireland’s playing style – which is partly based around an excellent kicking game – during this championship and McBryde doesn’t believe supporters at the Millennium Stadium will see too much thrilling rugby.

“I am not too sure about that,” said McBryde this afternoon in Cardiff. “There is a lot at stake. Ireland are on course for a Grand Slam and just to get away from Cardiff with a win, that’s all they will be looking to do.

With regards to playing any attractive rugby, that will come second. That’s the nature of the game at the moment and that’s how teams are wearing each other down and unfortunately the spectators have got to pay a price for that.”

That said, McBryde insisted he and fellow coaches Warren Gatland and Rob Howley do encourage their players to look for chances to pass the ball into wide channels when space is there to be attacked.

Wales’ direct approach in possession has also faced criticism recently, but former hooker McBryde explained that the coaching staff place no limits on their players.

“If it’s on, it’s on. The players have always been given the licence to play what’s in front of them and we will be disappointed if we don’t take those opportunities when they are on offer.

“We have got a bit of experience behind [in the backs], but the old adage of it’s won and lost up front will be the case tomorrow. All areas will be keenly contested, at the base, the aerial battle, it will come down to who comes out on top in those areas.”

Robin McBryde 1/2/2013 McBryde has faced Ireland on and off the pitch. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

McBryde stated that Ireland’s “looks a very happy camp” at present as he pointed to their “100% clarity because they play with such an intensity.”

Asked if Wales had identified the secret to stopping the winning momentum that has seen Schmidt’s side win 10 consecutive games, McBryde gave little away.

“I don’t think there’s a secret; it’s hard work. It is going to be a close game. They are very astute in their approach to the game and the [Welsh] players that were on the Lions will know the Irish players. You have got to be confident going into the game that you’ve done your work and are ready for a battle.

It’s going to be an arm-wrestle for 80 minutes and that’s what we’ve prepared for. Everything that goes on off the field pales into insignificance and it’s all about what happens on the day.

“You have got arguably two of the better teams in the Six Nations here, not being disrespectful to anybody else. On our day, I think both teams are capable of beating anybody.

“With regards to motivation, we look at our own situation, and we know a win would give us an opportunity to go for the championship. It is a double-edged sword that one. By doing that, we beat Ireland and stop them getting a Grand Slam, but it’s all about what we can achieve and gain, as opposed to anything else.

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Murray Kinsella

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