The Kiwi who questioned Wales' passion after their defeat to Italy said he could not fault his team despite seeing them beaten 26-9 in the RBS 6 Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
He said: "It was a totally different performance to Italy - that was a genuine Test match.
"It's been a tough week for most of the players and they have copped a lot of flack from pillar to post.
"They have stood back up and put in a performance which they can all be proud of but, at the end of the day, they were beaten by a better side."
"We did not talk about winning or losing at half-time, we just talked about our performance and continuing the quality of it.
"Unfortunately we missed one tackle and they made the most of it, but they are a really good side.
"When I started this job I said that we had a long journey to make. Along the way we would make progress but we would go backwards on occasions, Italy was a backwards step but certainly we are right back on now."
New skipper Jonathan Humphreys said: "This is something we can build on.
"We showed we have got the passion but all we lack is some self belief.
"The boys are disappointed that we did not win but this team can be very good in the future.
"It has got a lot of talent, and a lot of pace, and a lot of commitment. It just needs that self belief but that comes with experience."