But Hibbard and co recovered well to record successive victories over France, Italy and then Scotland to give themselves a chance at retaining their RBS 6 Nations title at the Millennium Stadium.
And Hibbard claims the resounding 30-3 triumph over the Red Rose on March 16 was the perfect way to respond to those who had raised concerns on their ability.
"So many people were saying we were going to finish fifth and it wasn't going to be the best Six Nations for us," said Hibbard.
"But then we turned it around and turned it around with that final win [against England[. I think that answered a lot of people and it was truly special."
While flying wing Alex Cuthbert claimed much of the praise for his double in Cardiff, Hibbard insists the tough tackling done in training was the catalyst for their victory.
"We have a live, crazy Tuesday every week," added Hibbard. "The Under-20s come in and train, and at the end of that session we have one-on-one tackling so you choose your group.
"If you're a tad sore you go with the less hitter boys or if you're keen, you go near Alun Wyn Jones, he's a machine."