Wales will hit top form in Six Nations
Wales will hit top form in Six NationsSHARE
Wales captain Sam Warburton is adamant the fact the Six Nations Grand Slam champions have lost their last seven Tests will count for little when they begin their title defence at home to Ireland on February 2.
"It is a really nice feeling going into the tournament as reigning champions," Warburton said at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday. "We can take great confidence from that."
Wales – the one country in the tournament where rugby rather than football is the national winter sport – ended 2012 with a depressing string of results featuring several narrow losses away and at home to Australia as well as morale-sapping defeats in Cardiff by Argentina and Samoa.
Wales suffered a 3-0 series loss in Australia and then, on the verge of beating the Wallabies, conceded a try with the last play of the match as they went down 14-12 at the Millennium Stadium in December.
"I thought we played very well against Australia," insisted Warburton. "It was a good performance and we did everything right apart from that last one minute of defence.
"That's why it was disappointing and the hardest one to take. It was a game we should have won."
Wales have lost their last three Tests against Australia by a combined margin of just five points and Warburton said: "It is easily recoverable. We might have had seven losses in a row, but some of those have been really tight matches. Players appreciate it is the fine line of international rugby.
"It wasn't long ago we had some really good performances and really good wins. People are talking about Welsh rugby as if it has completely gone down the pan.
"I don't like losing. Players will remember the feeling they had the changing room after the end-of-year matches, and they won't want to feel that again.
"There are ups and downs, that's sport. I am sure we will experience some good times in the near future.
"The biggest message we can take from the last six months is just to play with more confidence. When we've done that we've had good performances.
"We know how important momentum is. I am sure every nation will be putting a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure they win their first match. From a Welsh perspective, we've got three games on the road then."