Six Nations 2014: Wales must put down a marker against Italy, says Richard Hibbard

 

Richard Hibbard wants Wales to learn from their poor start to last year's tournament when they launch their bid for an unprecedented Six Nations title hat-trick.

Wales are red-hot favourites against visitors Italy but they endured a dreadful opening 40 minutes to last season's tournament as Ireland built a victory platform in Cardiff. Hibbard and company then reeled off four successive wins, culminating in a record 30-3 triumph against England that secured the silverware.

"We had one bad half in the entire tournament last year, so we definitely can't start like that again," the hooker said. "It was an accumulation of things last year. We had lost seven games on the bounce and there was a lot of pressure building. But after that [Ireland game] we didn't concede another try for the rest of the tournament."

Sterner tests lie ahead, notably in Dublin on Saturday week and at Twickenham in early March. Hibbard believes this weekend is a chance to put down an early marker.

"We want to go out, do our best and really get our show on the road and let everyone stand back and think 'Wales are here'," he said. "I am excited about the start but it will be a tough, physical game.

"The Italian pack is extremely experienced. They have been around the block a few times, and they have their talisman [captain Sergio Parisse] back, which is key for them."

He added: "We could become one of the greatest teams of all, and I think it is do-able. With the squad we have got here, it is definitely possible. The boys are really excited by the challenge.

"But it is like anybody who is on top, everyone is coming after you, aren't they? So we have got to be especially focused and make sure we win every game. They [the Wales coaches] want us to be comfortable at the top. That is when we will start beating the southern hemisphere teams and winning other things apart from the Six Nations."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living