Former Wales skipper Ryan Jones admitted he was a relieved man after featuring in his first ever World Cup match yesterday.
Jones, who was a Test Lion in 2005, has won more than half a century of caps for his country but had never appeared at the game’s showpiece event,
The 30-year-old back row didn’t make his Test debut until a year after the end of the 2003 World Cup and then missed the entire 2007 tournament after a serious shoulder injury.
Jones finally earned selection for a World Cup squad this time around but a calf injury prevent him from paying against both South Africa and Samoa. The Ospreys stalwart had targeted a return to action against Fiji next week but instead started the 80-point thumping of Namibia despite fearing his World Cup dream was over just 10 days ago.
"It has been a very emotional week for me. It was only ten days ago that I was verging on going home on a plane. That was tough," said Jones.
"Personally, it is a relief that I have played in a World Cup and I survived 80 minutes.
"The medical staff have been fantastic and the coaching team gave me an opportunity. Hopefully, I have been able to repay it and maybe I will get a chance to do it again.
"It was really special. Playing in a World Cup is something I have always aspired to do and dreamt of."
As well as being particularly pleased with his own personal achievement against the Namibians, Jones was also proud of the way the entire team performed in recording their second success of the group stages.
Warren Gatland’s men scored 12 tries in their biggest-ever World Cup win, with nine of those coming in the final 40 minutes.
And while the latter part of the first half saw Wales endure a lapse in concentration and a drop in physicality, Jones believes there is plenty to build on ahead of the final group game against Fiji and a likely quarter-final with Ireland.
"It is not easy to score 80 points in a World Cup, and the boys should be very proud of that," added Jones.
"We knew coming into the game what we had to do. We had a bit of a ropey second quarter when the pace slowed a little and we failed to dominate the basics of the game but we reflected on it at half-time, and in the second half we showed just how clinical we can be.
"It's never easy coming into a game as favourites, but we knew Namibia would bring a physical challenge, especially at the breakdown, and they certainly didn't disappoint.
"Collectively, we were very pleased with how the scrum went, and the lineout was pretty good, although we have got to make sure we work on our breakdown. I am pleased with the manner in which the boys performed."