Rhys Webb hoping star showing in Wales win will help his World Cup claims
Rhys Webb hopes he has put down a World Cup marker following his player-of-the-match performance in Wales’ Guinness Six Nations victory over Italy.
The Ospreys scrum-half delivered a dominant display on his first Test start since October 2020 as Wales won 29-17 at Stadio Olimpico.
He created two tries and injected much-needed verve into Wales’ attacking game following successive Six Nations defeats against Ireland, Scotland and England.Italy
⚡️ Go Rhys Lightning 🤩
Rhys Webb sets up Taulupe Faletau for @WelshRugbyUnion’s third try 👏#ITAvWAL #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/7txR4JGhUl
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 11, 2023
Webb has never played in a World Cup, missing the 2015 tournament after suffering a serious injury during Wales’ final warm-up match, and he was then out of the selection picture four years later.
But the 34-year-old showed he has lost none of his quality as the World Cup countdown continues, with Wales’ opening fixture against Fiji in Bordeaux just six months away.
Asked if he felt he made a World Cup selection mark, Webb said: “I would have hoped so. I know what I can do, and I believe in myself.
“I have been waiting for this opportunity to show people. It is back to the training field on Monday, and we will see who the coaches pick.
“It was very emotional, really. It has obviously been a long time coming. I have had to bide my time.
“There are world-class nines in Wales at the moment. I had an opportunity to start the game, and I tried to grab it with both hands.
“I will enjoy this moment, but when Monday comes I will have to start working hard again to try and get another start. You can’t take these things for granted.
“To have the chance of a full training week and to be the general, as they say, and lead the boys around the field was massive.
I know what I can do, and I believe in myself. I have been waiting for this opportunity to show people.
“I tried to go out there and just enjoy it. I am one to encourage the boys to enjoy themselves, and that was a big focus of mine.
“I didn’t let the whole week and the occasion get to me too much. I wanted to enjoy myself, and I did.”
Wales could reflect on just a fourth win from the last 16 starts as they left Rome to prepare in Nice for next Saturday’s Six Nations finale against in-form France.
Wales have suffered four successive defeats against Les Bleus, and they will encounter a team fresh from running England ragged at Twickenham.
“We knew we had to be at the top of our game, and we were for large periods,” Webb added.
“We thoroughly deserved the win, but still being critical there were about 30 minutes in the second half where we needed to be more ruthless.
“The boys should definitely take a lot of confidence from this.
“We know France are a world-class team with world-class players, but we can go into next week with a spring in our step and smiles on faces.
“We need to keep building on this now, and we want to finish this campaign on a high.”