Wales: Robin McBryde admits Japan tour open-side 'gamble'
JAPAN V WALES
- Hanazono Stadium, Osaka & Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground, Tokyo
- Saturdays 8 & 15 June, 2013
- 06:00 BST
- Coverage - First-Test:
- (Osaka) - Live on BBC One Wales, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online
- Coverage - Second Test :
- (Tokyo) - Live on S4C, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales & BBC online
Wales' Japan tour coach Robin McBryde admits omitting a specialist open-side flanker for the trip is a 'gamble'.
Wales' leading sevens Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric will be with the British and Irish Lions in Australia.
Warburton's Cardiff Blues colleague Josh Navidi was in contention to tour Japan, but has been
"Yes, it's a gamble. However, I think we've got enough within the make-up of the squad to be able to be more than combative," said McBryde.
Having covered the absence of Warburton and Tipuric for Wales against Scotland in the 2012 Six Nations, Scarlet Aaron Shingler is the pre-Japan-tour favourite to wear the number seven jersey.
But former Wales and Lions hooker McBryde says another Scarlet in Rob McCusker and uncapped Osprey James King's regional experience also make them potential open-side selections.
He also says that with Warburton and Tipuric leading Wales' open-side rankings, his back-row priority has centred on developing future strength in depth at number eight.
"Aaron Shingler has played well for us at seven," said McBryde.
"I know James King has had experience there, as has Rob McCusker.
"There's one eye on the present and one eye on the future. There's no out-and-out seven, but we've got two current world class open-sides away with the Lions.
"We need to build a bit of depth as far as our eight position is in question.
"It's a tough call on Josh Navidi. He was good for us in the Six Nations in a training environment, as he has been in this squad as well."
Explaining versatile back-five forward Ryan Jones's absence from the Japan trip, McBryde said: "It would have been an easy decision to bring Ryan.
"But I didn't think in the bigger picture we were going to do him any favours by bringing him along."
McBryde is in charge of Wales in the absence of Lions coach Warren Gatland and his assistants for the three-Test series against the Wallabies, Robert Howley and Neil Jenkins.
Wales face Japan in Osaka on Saturday, 8 June and again seven days later in Tokyo.