WALES forwards coach Robin McBryde has lobbed a pre-match grenade over the legality of England’s scrum.
At a press conference, the former Scarlets hooker drew attention to the scrummaging technique of English loose-head prop Joe Marler, the Harlequins man said to bore in on his opposite number.
“He definitely needs to scrummage legally otherwise we will be pointing the finger,” said McBryde, in response to earlier criticism of the Welsh scrum from the England camp.
“There was a big focus on the loose heads’ angles going into the World Cup and that was highlighted to us with regards to Gethin Jenkins and Paul James and it’s something we focused on a lot.”
Despite defeating the English at last autumn’s World Cup, the Welsh management were disappointed with how the scrum was refereed.
“It was very disappointing, especially in that England game, where we fell on the wrong side of decisions given against us, and we felt the problem lay elsewhere.
“The feedback we had after that game was positive as regards to what we were trying to do, and we felt we should have had a couple more penalties in that game.”
McBryde’s comments answered England coach Eddie Jones’ claims that the Welsh props have been scrummaging illegally all championship.
However, McBryde appealed to Saturday’s referee Craig Joubert to pick up on any underhand tactics in order to allow a proper contest at the scrum.
McBryde said: “All we can do is build a relationship with Craig Joubert so we get a better understanding of where he’s coming from, and what he’s looking at.
“I have asked the front row to try and scrummage a little bit differently, because we’ve got to be legal, but we’ve got to be effective and it’s getting that balance right.”
In what is almost certainly a championship decider, McBryde is confident that his pack can stand up to an extremely physical England eight.
“There are a lot of things in the mix at the moment,” said the 45-year-old.
“There’s Samson Lee’s current fitness, it was early days for him at the World Cup with his injury.
“Rob Evans is definitely scrummaging the best he ever has as far as I’m concerned.
“Scott Baldwin is leading from the front as a hooker as well. Tomas Francis’ scrummaging has come on leaps and bounds.
“We know we’ve got the experience of Paul James on the bench and Ken Owens, so all round as a front row we are in a pretty good place.
“Collectively we are in a much better place irrespective of who the opponents are.”