An emotional Rhys Webb said he never lost faith in himself after picking up the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match award following Wales’ 29-17 win over Italy at the Stadio Olympico.
The scrum-half was making his first Championship start in six years and superbly set up Taulupe Faletau for Wales’ bonus point try with an incisive break.
The 34-year-old was electric from the start in Rome and also set up Wales’ first try, chipping a clever kick for Rio Dyer to collect and cross for his third score in six international caps.
It was a dream return to the fold for Webb, who said: “It’s very emotional really.
“It’s been hard. I’ve kept at it. There are a lot of good nines in Wales at the moment.
“I’ve had to bide my time but I’ve been waiting for this opportunity. I said in the week that I believe in myself. I believe in what I can do.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 11, 2023
“I just need to be out playing and it’s a huge honour to be out here with the number nine jersey, playing with the boys.”
And Webb is hoping that with the 2023 Rugby World Cup coming in October, his performance can help him secure a regular spot in Warren Gatland’s starting XV.
Webb said: “It’s what every player wants [a consistent run in the team ahead of the World Cup]. Every player wants to be playing week-in, week-out.
“The more you play the more confidence you get, the relationships and the connections build within the group.
“So if I can get another opportunity to keep playing and keep wearing this No.9 jersey, it’d be great.”
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 11, 2023
A penalty try and a second in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations for Liam Williams sent Wales on their way to their first win of the calendar year.
And with Italy showing sure signs of improvement in the past 12 months, Webb was delighted Wales could put into practice what Gatland had implemented on the training ground over the fallow week.
Webb said: “It has been a tough few weeks. But we’ve felt every game and every performance we’ve been showing signs of promise and we’ve been getting better and better.
“We had a good two weeks training and we knew it was going to be a huge test coming over here because the Italians are playing some great rugby at the moment, so credit to them, their coaching staff and everyone connected with Italian rugby.
“We knew it was going to be a test but we had a gameplan, we stuck to it and we were brave. So credit to the boys for working hard and getting the win.”