Really? We spoke to Lee Byrne ahead of his visit to Ireland this weekend, and whilst his views on where Wales have been going wrong weren’t exactly revelatory, it’s worth a read nonetheless.
So Lee, before we talk about the Six Nations, tell us a little about the RBS RugbyForce initiative that you’re involved in. It’s about registering your club to receive help to improve the facilities over the weekend of June 5th and 6th. Are you going to be getting your hands dirty?
Yes, definitely. Coming from a background where I was a pretty late developer, I played at the junior level, and I know how hard it is. It’ll be great to get involved.
What were the facilities like for you back then?
It was the usual, with one flood light, everyone training under one light, and when the weather turns, the fields flood.
Have the facilities improved in the area?
Not really, especially not at my old club! There are some in the area where the pitches are getting better, but the RugbyForce scheme is certainly going to help.
Before we talk about playing Ireland at the weekend, just a word on that French match. Twenty points down at half-time – how angry was Shaun Edwards?
It’s the same old story really. We started slow and you can’t afford to do that. You’ve got to make sure you get into a good lead. Hopefully against Ireland now we can do that and win the game. We’ve won there before and it holds no fear for us.
Where do you think Wales have been going wrong so far?
Obviously, the start is where we’ve been going wrong. We’ve been letting teams get into a big lead and we can’t afford to let the likes of France and Ireland do that. It’s a lack of concentration really, we’ve had a couple of interceptions and a couple of mistakes, and if we cut those out, I’m sure we can get a lead and go on and win games.
Is there anything particular that you’ve been working on in training to attack any weak points in the Ireland setup?
Not really. England played very well against Ireland and were unlucky not to win against Ireland, so we can take heart from that, knowing they’re not unbeatable and we’ll just see how it goes.
There has been some talk that the teams that provided the most players to the Lions tour last year have been suffering a little. The Irish have been pulling out some results, but not necessarily as impressive as they might be as Grand Slam champions, and your boys have been looking a little tired in some areas. Do you think that might be what has given France the advantage?
No, definitely not. Look at the Welsh team: in the last 20, we’ve come out as the stronger team. We’ve just got to stop letting teams get into a lead with silly mistakes. If we can cut that out, I’m sure we can get the next two results under our belt.
For more from Lee Byrne, as well as the views of Martin Johnson, Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey and Ben Youngs, tune in to The Rugby Blog Podcast, live on iTunes and The Rugby Blog on Thursday morning.
Wales’ Lee Byrne and Media Wales are supporting RBS RugbyForce, the scheme that can help your local rugby club to improve its facilities. To register your club for the official RBS RugbyForce weekend on June 5-6, visit www.rbs6nations.com/rugbyfoce.