Lee Byrne: Roller-coaster campaign ends on high

Fifteen to one
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The Independent Online

We are not going to get carried away but we are certainly much happier this Sunday morning than we were last Sunday morning – me particularly. We wanted to put on a bit of a show for the Millennium Stadium and I think we just about did so. No disrespect to Italy, but we probably should have won by more than 33-10.

Anybody who watched the match will realise from my expression that I believed I had scored a try in the first half. I have since been told the linesman was correct – the pass to me from Shane Williams was forward. What can I say? At the time it sure felt like a try and it sure felt great.

I'm not going to lie; the match in Ireland, because of that costly yellow card, was terrible for me. I felt I owed the fans and the coaches, who stuck by me. I hope I proved myself and can now move on and improve as a player.

It many ways it has been a strange campaign and for me it has been a right roller-coaster. The tone was probably set for me before the first match, against England, when I was banned and then reinstated because of that 16th-man affair with the Ospreys. We lost the England match when we thought we should have won it, we did the same against France – and in between, against Scotland, we came through from 10 points down with four minutes to go. Only against Ireland did we truly come off second best.

But there is no point in looking back and wondering – we finished fourth and that is not good enough. We must look forward, and fortunately the challenges are coming thick and fast. With the Ospreys we have a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Biarritz to think about. And Wales's next game just happens to be against the world champions, South Africa, in Cardiff in June. Then the squad will go straight to New Zealand for two Test matches. My aim is to make that touring party.

I honestly believe that we are not a million miles from getting it right and I want to be around when we do. We gave a little taster of what we are about yesterday. Like I said, it was nothing to get carried away about. But it was pleasing. Wales needed that. And yes, I did too.

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