Jamie Roberts' willingness to play 10 minutes of the first half with a fractured skull typified the bravery shown by Wales in the thrilling victory over Australia, according to backs coach Rob Howley.
Blues centre Roberts was involved in a sickening collision with Australia captain Stirling Mortlock in the opening exchanges. Mortlock left the field with a head injury, but Roberts carried on and played a part in the build up to Wales’s first try.
However, after 12 minutes Roberts withdrew from the contest and coach Warren Gatland claimed the fracture to his skull will keep him out for a minimum of six weeks.
“Jamie has sent us a text from hospital telling us he has a fractured skull in hospital,” revealed Howley after the 21-18 win.
“That just sums up the team spirit - a guy is in hospital but sends a text message to the players who he has been playing with for the past three weeks.
“I think that is a testimony to the squad and the team spirit that Warren has achieved over the last three weeks.”
Gatland was delighted with much of the display but admitted that the result was all important.
“We are pretty pleased. Someone had to carry the flag for the northern hemisphere, didn’t they?” said Gatland.
“I think the result for us was the most important thing. We needed to get the win. I’m pretty proud of the performance and I think the best team won.
“The great rugby we played in the first half, I thought we should have been further in front. We get two, what I would consider, relatively easy shots at goal, which we miss and those things hurt a tight five.
“You need to keep the momentum up and we didn’t do that and we had to grind it out in the end.”
Gatland admitted that the RBS 6 Nations winners did have one eye on the World Cup seedings – the Dragons needed a 15-point winning margin to be fourth seeds in Monday’s draw for the 2011 competition.
“We did speak about World Cup seedings. Again, if we hadn’t conceded that soft try from the line-out and Martyn Williams had held onto the ball and Stephen Jones didn’t miss those kicks (Wales may have won by 15 or more),” he said.
“We did send the message on with two minutes that we were eight points clear and a converted try would give us a 15-point lead.
“Unfortunately they scored a try and it went down to the wire at the end.”
On the autumn campaign overall, Gatland said: “I think the last month has shown us we can compete with the best teams in the world.
“We are not quite clinical enough but we will be critical of our performance and hard on ourselves because we want to continue to improve as a team.
“I think we have gone a long way to restoring some pride in the jersey and earning the respect from some of the best teams in the world.
“We have got to keep working hard and improving as a team.”