Webb sees bright future for Wales

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Published: Sunday 22nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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Rhys Webb believes Wales are “in a good place” at the start of their six-month journey towards this year’s World Cup.

Wales’ hopes of securing a third RBS 6 Nations title in four years were ultimately dashed on points difference, despite them posting a record 61-20 victory over Italy at Stadio Olimpico.

Webb and company had to be content with a third-place finish, albeit after a tournament when they reeled off four successive wins following the pain of an opening day home defeat against England.

At times in the competition, Wales showed what a handful they can be, and scrum-half Webb insists the challenge posed by a World Cup pool later this year that also includes hosts England and twice winners Australia will be relished.

“We have grown game to game, and we have shown our attacking ability and what we can do,” Webb said.

“We are kicking ourselves a little bit for that second half against England, but you can’t dwell on it, and we have finished the competition on a high.

“We are in a good place, and we will take a lot of positives from our performance in Italy. We will work hard at the training camps in the summer, and go to the World Cup on a high.”

Webb was at the heart of a staggering second-half display by Wales, one that saw them score 47 points, with wing George North posting a try hat-trick in 11 minutes and Italy having no idea how to repel wave after wave of attacks.

Webb was also among the scorers, taking his try count to five in eight Tests this season, yet Wales were undone by Ireland and England both finishing above them on points difference after arguably the most thrilling day’s action in Six Nations history.

“We always knew Italy would be strong in the first half,” Webb said.

“We expected what they came with, but we knew if we kept the ball for long phases, we would stress them. In the second half, we kept hold of the ball and ran riot.

“It is about starting well in international rugby. It’s that 15-20 minutes after half-time, and against England we were slow starting and that cost us a Grand Slam.

“For me, I have really enjoyed my time starting in the autumn Tests and the Six Nations. I need to keep up my performances with the Ospreys now, and then work hard for the number nine jersey for the World Cup.

“I have been focused on getting the ball away as fast as I can to let our exciting backs get ball in hand. We have shown our attacking intent and that we can score some tries.

“We always want to play running rugby, but there is a time and a place. The (Wales) coaches have said ‘if it’s on, go’. It is about game management.”

Wales captain Sam Warburton, meanwhile, praised his players after they recovered so impressively from the England loss.

“The belief the guys had after losing that first match was there,” Warburton said.

“You are always reminded in the media how difficult it is winning a championship after losing your first game, but the belief that we kept over the last six weeks was amazing.

“We always thought we were capable of having an attacking performance like that (against Italy).”

Published: Sunday 22nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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