Two weeks into the tournament the French players are none the wiser when it comes to what coach Philippe Saint-Andre considers his best side.
“The most positive thing for me as a coach was our problem-solving on the pitch”, McBryde said.
“It came across strongly that he has been true to his roots”.
“Joe had that never-say-die attitude and always saw himself as the underdog”. He thrived on that. He stuck around and spent time answering the boys’ questions with his father.
“And to do that under pressure in the spotlight of Rugby World Cup takes a huge amount of homework, dedication and commitment”.
The Irish started with the oldest team in World Cup history; experience that helped them to take full advantage when Romania centre Csaba Gal was sent to the sin bin.
Wood, who has no disciplinary record to speak of, expressed his remorse over the incident while insisting the action was reckless and not deliberate.
Two tries in five minutes from winger Drew Mitchell was the highlight as Australia moved to the top of Pool A ahead of a Twickenham contest that could consign England to an unprecedented group-stage exit after losing to Wales the previous day.
“Some of the guys weren’t 100 per cent happy with their performance, so there is the opportunity to go out and fix a couple of things that we needed to tidy up from Saturday”.
Depending on how the other matches go, if they lose this weekend England may still be helped by bonus points, plus the advantage of knowing what needs to be done in their last pool game against Uruguay on the morning of October 11.
Johnson said England “have to anticipate for them being at their best and we have to plan for the worst”.
One year removed from his crowning moment in rugby league, code-hopping star Sam Burgess hopes to rise to a similar challenge to save England’s World Cup hopes – but he may have to do so from the bench.
When Warren Gatland unveiled his lineup, there were three injury-enforced changes to his depleted back division.
“It’s been a balance with regards to how much work between the two games”, McBryde said of the short turnaround between the England and Fiji games.
“They have a few big runners and it’s going to be a big, physical battle”.
Wales may be on a high after their stunning win against England at Twickenham but there is little chance of them taking tomorrow’s visitors lightly, even if they have been deprived of the services of key backs, Niko Matawalu, Nemani Nadolo and Waisea Nayacalevu.
“Unfortunately it’s done now and, however frustrating it is, we’ve got to try to beat Australia – and the only way to do that is to get on the front foot, rip in and see where it leaves us”.
“Slowly, that momentum is building”.
“In that four years, seeing the difference in physicality”.
“They are entitled to do that and are progressing their own careers and I have no interest in anything they have to say because they are not here”.
The WRU has also announced that full-back Liam Williams will not be considered for the Fiji game.
“He is quite a slippery character”, McBryde added.