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Jones: We put Wales back on the map


Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones

Wales captain Ryan Jones believes the players can take great pride in their performances during the World Cup in New Zealand.

Their hopes of claiming the tournament's bronze medal were dashed by a 21-18 defeat against Australia on Friday, but it was still Wales' most successful World Cup campaign since 1987.

They will now face Australia in a Millennium Stadium friendly on December 3, before launching their RBS 6 Nations preparations for a tournament that should see them installed as title favourites. Back-row forward Jones said: "We hoped to leave with the third-place medal, but it has been a good tournament and we put Wales back on the rugby map."

He added: "We came here with (some) players who we didn't know if they could play at this level, but we can be proud of what we have done. Some guys have played the best rugby of their careers, and we have to build on that.

"We play Australia at the Millennium Stadium in December, and then there is the Six Nations, so there are chances for us to build on this."

Jamie Roberts, meanwhile, led the tributes to Shane Williams after Wales' wing wizard made his World Cup farewell in trademark try-scoring fashion. The 34-year-old bowed out by claiming his 58th touchdown in a Wales shirt - an ongoing record - during the Wallabies defeat.

He now looks likely step down as an international player when Australia arrive in Cardiff in six weeks' time, having given several strong hints that this season will be his last as a Test-match performer. Centre Roberts said: "It has been incredible to play alongside Shane.

"I grew up watching him as a kid. He is an absolute legend of a bloke, and hopefully he will get to run out at the Millennium Stadium against Australia in December. I am disappointed for him that we finished the World Cup in the fashion we did. He's been magnificent this tournament - he's certainly a player I think everyone in world rugby admires.

"If anyone deserves it (a Millennium Stadium farewell) it's him. The input he has made to Welsh rugby over the last 13 or 14 years is unparalleled. He is probably the most exciting player of his generation, and he is an incredible man.

"We would love him to continue. He's a pretty special player, but it is whatever he decides to do - it's ultimately his decision. Whatever he decides to do, he will have the respect of the rugby world."

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