Wales captain Sam Warburton targets return to form
Last Updated: 23/01/13 7:52pm
Sam Warburton: Leading Wales in the their Six Nations defence
Wales captain Sam Warburton believes his side can rediscover the form that saw them claim the Six Nations title in Grand Slam fashion 12 months ago.
Wales have not beaten another Test-playing nation since they defeated France in the final game of last season's annual tournament, losing seven successive matches, included a quartet of defeats to Australia.
To compound matters, they have a lengthy injury list to contend with, while double Grand Slam-winning coach Warren Gatland will not be in charge during the Six Nations as he prepares to leading the British and Irish Lions tour Down Under later this year.
Rob Howley has been handed interim charge of the side and Warburton is backing his side to show their true colours when their campaign gets under way against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.
"You don't become a bad side overnight, just like you don't become a good one," said Warbuton. "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 to the pan.
"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.
"I don't like losing. Players will remember the feeling they had in the changing room after the autumn matches, and they won't want to feel that again. 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."
Wales face France seven days after the Ireland match and Warburton is keen for his side to head to Paris with some momentum behind them.
"It is a really nice feeling going into the tournament as reigning champions. We can take great confidence from that," he said. "We know how important momentum is, and I am sure every nation will be putting a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure they win their first match."