Warren Gatland: Wales hope head coach will take charge v Scotland

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Warren Gatland and Robin McBryde
Robin McBryde (right) has taken charge of three Wales tours while Warren Gatland (left) has been away with the British and Irish Lions
Under Armour Series: Wales v Scotland, Australia, Tonga & South Africa
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Dates: Saturdays 3, 10, 17 & 24 November
Coverage: Live on BBC Wales, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde says he hopes Warren Gatland will return from New Zealand before the opening autumn international against Scotland.

Gatland returned to his native home following the death of his father earlier this week.

Backs coach Rob Howley is leading the squad in Gatland's absence.

"We are still not sure when Warren will return, hopefully it will be ahead of the Scotland game. We will just see how that pans out," said McBryde.

"Warren always stresses the importance of family and that comes first. That is the case in this instance.

"Our thoughts are with him and the family at this moment. It makes it that much harder being that far away from your family at times like this.

"We are just keen to crack on with the job. Warren has always been happy to discuss plans and make sure we are on the same page and happy for us [coaches] to take a lead on different occasions.

"Rob has stepped up and been in this position before so it has not affected us too much. We have always had the flexibility to change things on the hoof."

Back-row balance

None of Wales' English-based players are available for the Scotland match because the game falls outside the international window.

Scarlets fly-half Rhys Patchell (concussion) and Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins (shoulder) are being monitored and have not yet been ruled out of the Test, which will be played under a closed Principality Stadium roof.

McBryde says they are considering bringing in Blues forward Seb Davies into the squad if he comes through his comeback match against Cheetahs on Saturday after being sidelined through injury.

The Wales forwards coach also raised the prospect of moving lock Cory Hill in to the back row with James Davies, Josh Navidi, Aaron Shingler and Taulupe Faletau all missing through injury.

The other back-row options in the squad currently are Dan Lydiate, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric and Aaron Wainwright.

McBryde believes Hill's move to the back row could demonstrate the Dragons skipper's versatility ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan.

"He has got good skills, he has a great engine on him. It's just seeing how he would go in that position," said McBryde.

"Cory would be happy to give it a go and it is a conversation he has had with Bernard Jackman at the Dragons.

"It is one of those things you are not going to rule out at this stage."

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