Wales coach Steve Hansen named a 31-strong squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship and then challenged his players to build on the displays against New Zealand and England at the World Cup.
Wales fell to defeat in both matches but were hugely competitive and proved one of the surprise packages of the tournament with their flair and enterprise.
Welsh sides also did better than expected in the pool stages of this season's European Cup, with Llanelli Scarlets making it through to the quarter-finals and the Celtic Warriors just missing out and Hansen believes it is important to keep the momentum going.
" Now we have to carry it into the Six Nations," he said.
"Never mind other people's expectations. Our own expectations should be high enough. It's a question of raising the bar again and moving on from what we achieved in the World Cup."
Meanwhile, Hansen has defended the omission of Llanelli's European Cup hero Barry Davies on the grounds that other players are playing better.
The full-back scored a dazzling solo try that broke the hearts of Northampton and helped secure the Scarlets an 18-9 success and a place in the quarter-finals.
"He has not been left out because he's not playing well enough," said Hansen. "It's just that the people who have been picked are playing better.
"One or two of them have got more versatility than Barry, but he's a young player who's developing and I'm sure his time will come."
Rhys Williams, Garan Evans and Gareth Thomas would appear to be the full-back options, with Kevin Morgan currently sidelined through an ankle injury.
Morgan and his fellow World Cup squad members Mark Jones and Huw Bennett were not considered because of injuries, while Scarlets lock Chris Wyatt has not been selected.
World Cup skipper Colin Charvis, who is currently playing for French club Tarbes, retains the captaincy.
Only two of the squad - Charvis and Leeds back-row forward Alix Popham - are not involved in Wales' new regional set-up.
European quarter-finalists Llanelli provide seven squad members, as do Cardiff Blues, while there are eight Celtic Warriors representatives and five from Neath-Swansea Ospreys. Hal Luscombe and Michael Owen fly the Gwent Dragons' flag.
Wales squad for the 2004 RBS 6 Nations Championship:
Backs: G Evans (Llanelli Scarlets), R Williams (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), C Morgan (Blues), G Thomas (Celtic Warriors), H Luscombe (Gwent Dragons), J Robinson (Blues), M Taylor (Scarlets), T Shanklin (Blues), S Parker (Warriors), I Harris (Blues), C Sweeney (Warriors), S Jones (Scarlets), D Peel (Scarlets), G Cooper (Warriors).
Forwards: I Thomas (Scarlets), D Jones (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Warriors), R McBryde (Scarlets), G Williams (Blues), M Davies (Warriors), R Sidoli (Warriors), B Cockbain (Warriors), G Llewellyn (Ospreys), M Owen (Dragons), C Charvis (Tarbes, capt), D Jones (Scarlets), J Thomas (Ospreys), M Williams (Blues), A Popham (Leeds).
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.