Robin McBryde: Samson Lee rising above Joe Marler furore

Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde says prop Samson Lee is not someone “distracted by things on the outside”.

Robin McBryde: Samson Lee rising above Joe Marler furore

Lee will go into Wales’ Six Nations finale against Italy today after a week dominated by fall-out from England prop Joe Marler’s “gypsy boy” comment that he aimed at the Scarlets forward six days ago.

The Welsh Rugby Union subsequently voiced objection to Marler being cleared by the Six Nations of verbally abusing Lee during a Twickenham clash that England won 25-21.

And World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, on Thursday night requested further information from Six Nations organisers “in respect of the process that led to (the) decision” amid widespread concerns over the investigation and its verdict.

While Marler is on the bench for England’s Grand Slam mission against France in Paris today, Lee features in a Wales starting line-up charged with beating Italy for a 10th successive time andsecuring this season’s Six Nations runners-up spot.

Forwards specialist McBryde said: “If you’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to Samson, you will find out that he is not distracted by things on the outside.

“I thought Samson was good last week. He needs to do a little bit more around the field, perhaps, but so does everybody. He will be looking to build on last week. Samson is just focused on his performance, and (Lee’s fellow Wales prop) Rob Evans will be as well as he goes up against (Martin) Castrogiovanni.”

Captain Dan Lydiate, meanwhile, missed Wales’ final training session ahead of the Italy encounter.

Lydiate remained at the team hotel due to what McBryde described as an ankle irritation, adding that it was purely a precautionary measure ahead of Saturday’s clash.

The Ospreys flanker, who is not classed as a doubt for the Italy game, has taken over as skipper from Sam Warburton, who was ruled out of the Principality Stadium encounter while he recovers from concussion.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has made four changes after defeat against England ended his side’s title hopes, handing starts to wing Hallam Amos, scrum-half Rhys Webb, lock Luke Charteris and flanker Justin Tipuric.

Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau said: “They (England) came out of the blocks firing, and we couldn’t quite match them. We lost the battle of the gain line, and by the time the first half was gone, they were 16 points up.

“Everybody wants to win the championship, and we are disappointed we are not going to do that this year.”

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