/ Six Nations 2014

Wales focus on scrum improvement

Updated: Friday, 15 Feb 2013 12:23 | Comments

The Wales scrum will face a huge test in Rome
The Wales scrum will face a huge test in Rome

Robin McBryde has identified Wales' scrum as an area requiring attention before the resumption of RBS 6 Nations business next week.

Wales will tackle Italy in Rome after hauling themselves back into title contention with a first away win against France for eight years.

Interim head coach Rob Howley has already named an unchanged team following the Stade de France heroics, and the pack can expect some heavy-duty scrummaging work during the next week.

"To be perfectly honest, we've been disappointed with our performances in the scrum in the first two matches," Wales forwards specialist McBryde said.

"We are not controlling everything to the best of our ability. It is something we need to put right.

"There are always a number of contributing factors. There are eight people going hard at it against each other, and we just need to be able to control things better and take a lot of the other things out of the equation.

"We need to come out a lot more positively, ask more questions of the opposition and take certain decisions out of the referee's hands."

"We need to come out a lot more positively and ask more questions of the opposition" - Robin McBryde

Next week's media focus will be on the make-up of a Wales replacements' bench that looks likely to include Sam Warburton and Alun-Wyn Jones.

Warburton captained his country to last season's Six Nations title and Grand Slam, and he was also skipper during a successful 2011 World Cup campaign when Wales reached the semi-finals

But a shoulder injury sidelined him for Paris, with Ryan Jones taking over as skipper and currently keeping the job.

"Sam is in the gym, he's working on a one-to-one basis with the medical team and everything is going in the right direction at this stage," McBryde added.

"He is certainly in a positive mood and he is taking everything in his step, as you would expect somebody of Sam's standing and maturity to do.

"He is the utmost professional, and it was good to see him throwing up his lunch on the training field yesterday, having worked that hard."

Alun-Wyn Jones, meanwhile, will continue his comeback from shoulder surgery by captaining the Ospreys in tonight's RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Connacht in Galway.

"Rob naming the starting XV (early) does send out a message to the rest of the squad," McBryde said. "You get picked on performance, and if you perform you will retain the shirt.

"It's up to everyone else to work hard in training, work hard when they go back to the regions and show what they can do.

"That same XV deserves a crack at Italy. You have got to earn the shirt, and I think that is the message going out to everybody in the Wales squad."

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