McBryde, is a former Llanelli and later Scarlets hooker who played over 250 games for his region.
In an eleven year international career he was capped 37 times by Wales and played in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He was also part of the 2005 Grand Slam winning Wales team and was called up to the British & Irish Lions tour in 2001 but had to withdraw due to injury.
Since retiring in 2005, McBryde has immersed himself in coaching initially with the Scarlets and then with Wales as forwards coach to the senior national squad and also as a WRU National Skills Coach, providing specialist coaching to Wales’ young talent in the regional academies.
He also acted as Wales head coach during the North American tour of Canada and USA in 2009 while Warren Gatland and Rob Howley were on British & Irish Lions duty in South Africa and did the same on the tour to Japan in 2013 while Gatland was again involved in the Lions tour of Australia.
Announcing his appointment, Leinster Rugby head Coach Leo Cullen said, “Robin McBryde is a coach and person I have admired for a long time as he went about his business with the Welsh national team, contributing to an unprecedented era of success during his 13-year involvement. He will bring a wealth of experience to Leinster after working so closely with and against many of the leading forwards in the game.
“We are delighted that Robin has agreed to join our coaching team after this year’s World Cup, and I am really excited about getting the opportunity to work closely with him. He is a proud and knowledgeable rugby man and I am sure all Leinster supporters will join me in giving him a warm welcome when he arrives.”
Speaking this morning, McBryde said, “I am delighted to be joining Leinster. They are one of the standout teams in Europe, with a strong identity and a proud history, and I am really looking forward to starting with them later this year.
“I see it as a great opportunity to join a very experienced and exciting coaching team and to help continue Leinster’s great successes. They are a world renowned team, with passionate supporters and I am looking forward to working with the squad and the coaches.
“I’m hugely proud of my time with Wales, and it has been an honour to coach my country. I have never taken it for granted and it has been a hugely rewarding experience to have been part of the coaching team under Warren Gatland and the success we have had over the years.
“I am thrilled to have secured my future with Leinster post RWC, and it now allows me to focus all my energy on the task at hand with Wales.”
Another huge name joining the MLR is former All Blacks back-rower Adam Thomson who has made a remarkable return to professional rugby following a serious spinal infection that kept him in hospital for almost two months at the beginning of 2018.
Thompson will join the Utah Warriors alongside Fijian sevens star Vatemo Ravouvou on a deal which will see the pair play for the side for the remainder of the 2019 season through to the end of the 2020 season.
Thompson has been out of the game for 18 months with his last appearance as a pro player in the Japanese Top League, Thomson will move to the USA as an injury replacement for Jackson Kaka, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the MLR season with a neck and shoulder complaint.
Thomson spent 57 days in a Tokyo hospital from December 2017 to February 2018, suffering from lumbar discitis which is a painful infection of the spine.
After debuting for Otago in the NPC as a 22-year-old in 2004, Thomson went on to amass 50 appearances for his province, played 68 times for the Highlanders in Super Rugby, and won 29 test caps for the All Blacks between 2008 and 2012, where he was a member of the World Cup-winning squad in 2011.
Munster confirm Zebo signing
This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.
In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date.
Head Coach Johann van Graan said, “The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.
“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”
Simon Zebo said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster. My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.
“However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”
Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early
Marcell Coetzee has played his last game for Ulster Rugby.
With back-row, Marcell Coetzee, currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, Ulster Rugby has agreed terms which will see the player released from the club at the end of this month, ahead of his planned departure at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.
Given the need for several weeks of rehabilitation following the injury sustained by Coetzee in last month’s Guinness PRO14 fixture against Leinster, Ulster Rugby and the player have reached a mutual agreement to part ways on Friday 30 April.
Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said: “We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.
Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre
21-year-old, Cormac Izuchukwu will make his first start for the Ulster men as he is named in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Marty Moore comes back into the starting front row at tighthead, with Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew retaining their starting berths at loosehead and hooker. Jordi Murphy will captain the side at openside flanker, with Sean Reidy and David McCann being retained at blindside and Number Eight.
A youthful back line sees Ethan McIlroy coming into the back three at full-back, with Rob Lyttle on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune returning on the right. Stewart Moore and James Hume will make up the midfield pairing, while John Cooney and Michael Lowry are named at half-back.
Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matty Rea are the forward reinforcements, with David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham providing the back line options on the bench.
Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 16, Friday 19 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordy Murphy (Capt.), David McCann.
Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.