Wales’ dramatic 24-19 comeback win over France in Paris was a special way to mark a historic night for Ken Owens.
He became the most capped hooker for his country as they overturned a 16-0 half-time deficit to come out on top in their Guinness Six Nations opener, thanks to two tries from George North and one from Tomos Williams.
France had built a sizeable lead at the break thanks to scores from No.8 Louis Picamoles and wing Yoann Huget but Wales battled back in the second period.
Owens, who made his 61st appearance for his country on Friday, said the triumph at Stade de France will be one to remember for himself and his team.
“My 50th cap was the ten-minute match in Paris and my record-breaking game could have been very different,” he said.
“The quality in the group helped us show our character and get the result. On a personal level to become Wales’ most capped hooker is a huge honour.
“Over the last 10 to 20 years the quality that has come through the hooking berth has been exceptional. It is just a number, but there is a sense of pride there as well.
“Winning comes with confidence and we’ve had a lot of guys come in who have done very well and really stepped up to the plate.
“They’ve gained experienced and it’s easier to get that when you’re winning. They did well in Argentina in the summer and now we’ve got a lot of young guys in our squad who have a lot of caps.
“That can only be a good thing. We’ve got to keep that going.”
The records are piling up for Wales, as their comeback eclipsed France’s effort in trailing by 15 points before beating Ireland in 1989 and means they have stretched their win streak to ten matches.
This equals their best-ever run in the era of professional rugby, with their eyes now set on travelling to Rome to face Italy in Round 2 of the Championship, where they can equal the all-time record of 11 consecutive wins, which dates back to between 1907 and 1910.
“Records are there to be broken and there have been some very good Welsh sides over the years. We’re 10 on the bounce and we go to Italy now,” Owens said.
“You have to go back to 1907 for the record so as a team it’s a big thing for us to hopefully equal the record and then pass it. But it’s not something we speak too much about.
“We just want to win and hopefully the records will keep tumbling and we can put ourselves in history.”
Wales flew from Paris to Nice on Saturday afternoon for a training camp ahead of their clash with Italy.
They have been spotted enjoying the sea in the south of France, despite freezing temperatures and snow on the ground.
Gatland’s men travel to Rome on Thursday afternoon for the match at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm).
PICTURE CREDIT: Welsh Rugby Union