Only reaching final can ease the pain of 2011 exit to France
against Wales in 2009. But the France semi-final hurts the most. That is why I am so desperate for this Wales side to reach a World Cup final. Those opportunities to achieve greatness in the game are very rare.
With those other defeats, I have been able to make amends, to an extent. I was lucky enough to play with the Lions in 2013 and win that series in Australia, which righted the wrongs of four years before. With Cardiff Blues, in 2010, a year after losing to Leicester, we won the Challenge Cup in Marseille. And I was fortunate enough to win another Grand Slam with Wales in 2012 and another Six Nations title in 2013. When you experience the pain, and then bounce back to triumph, that winning feeling feels so much better.
Yet I have never had the chance to rectify what happened in 2011. We came close in 2015, but lost to a 78th-minute try by Fourie du Preez of South Africa in the quarter-final at Twickenham. By the end of that game, we were on our last legs in
Decisive moment: Sam Warburton’s red-card tackle on Vincent Clerc