The pressure is not off Wales yet, warns Richard Hibbard
RICHARD Hibbard summed up Wales's desire to make a mark on this season's Six Nations by declaring: "The pressure is not off us yet".
Wales kept alive their championship aspirations thanks to a hard-earned 16-6 victory over France in Paris on Saturday, bringing to an end a miserable eight-match losing run. The much-needed win was based on an abrasive defensive display coupled with a refusal to bend the knee to France's colossal forward pack.
And while England are in the box seat following their Dublin triumph over Ireland yesterday, Wales are convinced they can still have a big say in the tournament over the final three rounds.
"It's a good starting point," said Hibbard. "It's put to bed a lot of demons and given us a big confidence boost.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"The coaches have been telling us that we haven't gone from being a good team to a bad team overnight.
"We are happy with the result but there is plenty more to come. It's a relief to have ended the run of eight defeats but the pressure is not off us yet."
It was a memorable result to mark the Ospreys hooker's first Six Nations start, with Hibbard paying tribute to the performance of Wales's pack in the face of a heavyweight French eight.
"The boys put in a hell of a performance," he added. "We knew that France would be a big, physical team and we knew that we would have to go all the way to the 80th minute.
"Their pack was huge. The starting eight and the players coming off the bench seemed to be even bigger — it was like replacing tanks with tanks.
"But I thrive in that sort of battle, the bigger they are the harder they fall.
"We all put in a hell of a shift and didn't allow their eight to dominate us."
Wales return to the continent a week on Saturday when they take on Italy in Rome.
With lock Alun Wyn Jones having completed his comeback from injury for the Ospreys on Friday night, skipper Sam Warburton likely to have recovered from his shoulder 'stinger' and last year's player of the tournament Dan Lydiate also close to returning, interim coach Rob Howley has some difficult selection posers to answer.
It will be harsh for Howley to drop any of the side that started at the Stade de France, particularly up front.
And Hibbard is hopeful he has done enough to retain the No. 2 jersey.
"I would have liked to have done more things around the park, but I thought it went pretty well for my first Six Nations start," he added.
"Hopefully the coaches will let me build on it and I can keep putting in good performances."