Daily Mail

Webb’s return has Wales firing again

- ALEX BYWATER at the Stadio Olimpico

RHYS WEBB laid down a World Cup marker as his star turn in Rome helped Wales get back to winning ways in the Six Nations. The scrum-half was the main man for Warren Gatland’s side on his first Championsh­ip start in six years as the visitors recorded a much-needed victory over Italy.

At 34, Webb is in the twilight of his career after falling out of the internatio­nal picture under Gatland’s predecesso­r as head coach Wayne Pivac. Now, he is back and his man-of-the-match performanc­e at Stadio Olimpico showed he still has much to offer at internatio­nal level. Webb is yet to play at a World Cup after injury and ineligibil­ity robbed him of appearing at the 2015 and 2019 tournament­s. Asked if he showed in Rome he should at this year’s version in France, Webb said: ‘I would have hoped so. I know what I can do and I believe in myself.

‘I’ve been waiting for this opportunit­y to show people what I can do. It was very emotional. It’s obviously been a long time coming. I am buzzing. ‘I didn’t let it get to me that I had not started in the Six Nations in six years. I have played internatio­nal rugby. We can take a lot of confidence from this.’ After defeats by Ireland, Scotland and England and ongoing off-field distractio­ns, Wales simply had to win in Rome to restore some belief. Gatland’s players got the job done. It wasn’t perfect, but Webb’s presence back in the side coincided with a much improved team display as he created tries for Rio Dyer and Taulupe Faletau.

‘I haven’t started thinking about the World Cup. This is my first campaign for a while so I am just enjoying this moment,’ added Webb. ‘I will keep working hard and whatever happens.’

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 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Impressive: Webb enjoyed a fine return for Wales
GETTY IMAGES Impressive: Webb enjoyed a fine return for Wales

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