Wales skipper Ryan Jones is not giving up on the RBS Six Nations title just yet despite losing for the first time in nine championship matches in Paris on Friday night.
Welsh hopes of making it back to back Grand Slams went up in smoke as they lost 21-16 to the resurgent French, but Jones knows that with two games left to play there is still a lot to play for.
He takes his side to Rome to face the Italians in two weeks time knowing that victory will set up a potential championship decider in the final round against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.
“We know that if we get it right we can beat any team in the world. We just didn’t get it right on the night in Paris,” said Jones.
“We didn’t play very well and we got what we deserved. But there is still everything to play for and there is more to come from this Welsh team.
“We need to ensure we put things right in two weeks time. There are still two games to go and there is everything to play for.
“There are no excuses for what happened and this Welsh team won’t curl up and shy away from whatever it takes to get things back on track.
“We are bringing the best out of teams we play against and it is the level of performance the French produced that is now needed to beat us. What that means is we have to be even better than we have been in the past.
“Take nothing away from the French, they played very well and targeted us at the break down and had a good kicking game. They defended superbly and we weren’t as accurate as we needed to be.
“We made too many mistakes both collectively in our units and individually. There were a couple of key moments and key decisions that went against us, but even so, we could still have won the game in the last few minutes.
“We are all bitterly disappointed. We started very well and went 13-3 up, which is where we wanted to be.
“But then we made a couple of individual mistakes and lost some of our composure. For large patches of the game we came off second best, which is unusual for us these days.”
Jones and his players will now have to go through an uncomfortable debrief with head Coach Warren Gatland on Wednesday. It was the first Six Nations game his team had lost since he took over last year.
“We will have to wait until Wednesday and our debrief before we know what Warren Gatland really thinks. But let’s face it, we’re in a job where we get assessed and monitored by three million people every time we take the field.
“I’m sure it will be a pretty frank and honest session. But whatever ever happens, and whatever is said, the players will take it on the chin.
“Sometimes mistakes cost you and other times they don’t. We’ll have to wait and see what happens on Wednesday.
“We will review the game in the same open and honest fashion that we use when we have won.”