In the cold light of day Wales’ 2011 Rugby World Cup record reads four wins and three defeats, after the 21-18 deafeat by Australia in the Third Place Final.
The proud Welsh who battled so bravely against adversity will point to the narrow margins of defeat – beaten by a single point by both South Africa in the Group stage and then France in the semi-final. But the truth is that there was something missing from Warren Gatland’s side. And it wasn’t just their skipper after the match-changing red card for Sam Warburton against the French.
In all three defeats for Wales it was a story of crucial kicks that could have won them the game.
This time it was James Hook who squandered the points that should have beaten Australia. In the semis Stephen Jones hit the post with the conversion which would have snatched the lead, and Leigh Halfpenny then came up just short with a long-range penalty at the death. And against defending world champions South Africa Wales were infamously denied by Hook’s first-half penalty which narrowly cleared the posts but was wrongly ruled a miss.
The harsh reality is that Wales came up short because they just weren’t good enough.