Only reach­ing fi­nal can ease the pain of 2011 exit to France

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby World Cup -

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

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