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.
Dan McFarland extends stay with Ulster for a further two years
Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has renewed his commitment to the province by signing a new two-year contract extension.
Since joining the club in August 2018, Ulster has regularly competed at the knock-out stages of both the Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup, including at the most recent Guinness PRO14 final – a first for the province in seven years.
Of his contract renewal, Dan McFarland, said:
“I’m delighted to be signing again with Ulster. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two and a half years working and learning with some really good people, and I’m looking forward to continuing to help drive on our improvement as a group and as individuals.
“As a group, we are extremely ambitious in our aim to be consistently competing for championships. With exciting young talent continuing to emerge out of our Academy system, joining forces with the proven talent within our squad – many of whom have been recently recognised at international level – I look forward to what the weeks and months ahead hold as we take on our next challenges in the domestic league and in Europe this season.”
Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, added:
“I’m extremely pleased to see Dan extend his commitment to Ulster Rugby, giving us the opportunity to continue to build on the fantastic work that he has done in his time here so far.
“It is plain to see, both on and off the field of play, the ethos that he has instilled in the group, and that is being borne out both in our performances and our results – a team of which the people of Ulster can be rightly and fiercely proud.
“I’m looking forward to working with Dan in the coming years, to see where we can take this. It’s an exciting prospect.”
Ulster & Leinster announce teams for huge Inter-Pro Clash
The team sees six changes to the side that defeated Munster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Michael Lowry comes in to start at full-back and is joined on the wings by Matt Faddes and last weekend’s Player-of-the-Match, Ethan McIlroy. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and in the half-backs, John Cooney will partner Billy Burns.
Andrew Warwick and Marty Moore are named at loosehead and tighthead prop, with Rob Herring completing the front row at hooker. Alan O’Connor comes in to pair with captain Sam Carter in the second row. Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee make up the starting back row forwards.
John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney will provide forward reinforcements off the bench. David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham will offer back line cover.
Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 11, Friday 8 January at the RDS Arena (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney.
(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the RDS Arena in Round 11 of the Guinness PRO14 has been announced by Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm live on eir Sport and RTÉ Radio).
Johnny Sexton will captain the team as a number of players return from injury for the top of Conference A clash.
Hugo Keenan is selected at full back with Jordan Larmour back after a shoulder injury to start on the right wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.
Robbie Henshaw starts in the inside centre jersey with Ross Byrne starting outside him in the number 13 jersey for the first time in his Leinster senior career.
In the half-backs, Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by captain Johnny Sexton.
Cian Healy starts at loosehead prop with Andrew Porter at tighthead, while Seán Cronin makes his first start of the season at hooker after recovering from a thumb injury.
Former Australian international Scott Fardy is joined by James Ryan in the second row while, in the back row, fit-again Rhys Ruddock starts with Josh van der Flier at openside and Caelan Doris at number eight.
On the bench, Harry Byrne returns from a back injury picked up in the warm-up before the Northampton Saints game.
Team News from Ulster Rugby & Leinster Rugby
Ulster to welcome 1,000 fans for Scarlets clash
Ulster Rugby last night announced that 1,000 supporters will be welcomed to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend. Statement from Ulster Rugby below:
The Ulster Men have played behind closed doors since the opening game of the season against Benetton Rugby when the club successfully trialled the safe return of spectators following extensive consultation with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Executive.
All 500 pairs of tickets will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members only via an online ballot process. Members who applied for tickets to the Benetton match but missed out due to limited availability will receive priority in the ballot.
Sunday night’s match will feature a mix of seating and terracing in operation across all four stands and the East Terrace. Tickets are again priced at £20 each, allocated in groups of two with two-metre physical distancing factored in.
The online ballot will be open for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday 17 November on the Ulster Rugby Ticket Account Manager, and account holders can apply for one pair of tickets per every Adult #TogetherUlster Membership held. All successful applicants will be notified on Wednesday evening once the ballot has closed and tickets have been allocated. Members will then have until 1pm on Thursday 19 November to confirm their ticket purchase and process payment.