Scott Johnson has urged the Welsh public not to lose faith in their team after a troubled RBS 6 Nations Championship - insisting 'We've been in darker holes than this one'.
Johnson was the Wales skills coach under Steve Hansen when the Red Dragon recorded 10 straight Test defeats leading into the 2003 World Cup.
Wales head into Saturday's match against Italy on the back of a bleak month, marked by Mike Ruddock's departure as head coach before captain Gareth Thomas was ruled out injured for the championship.
However, if there is anything Johnson brings to a squad it is confidence and positivity.
He has shown belief in his men to bounce back against an improving Italian side - Shane Williams returns to an otherwise unchanged starting XV after recovering from a dead leg - and he has urged the Welsh public to do the same.
"We have kept the faith with the majority of the side that under-performed in Dublin and told them to go out there on Saturday and put things right," said Johnson.
"It's a vote of belief. The boys have a second chance to prove what they are capable of and that the last outing was just a blip.
"The philosophy here is to keep this side tight. We are a close-knit group and we have had to maintain our focus in the last fortnight to ensure the performance will be right in front of our home fans at the Millennium Stadium.
"What we saw against Ireland just wasn't us and my message to the fans is 'Don't give up on us yet - this is our hour of need, and we need you now more than ever'.
"We have been in some dark holes in the time I have been here - and we've been in darker holes than this one. There is a silver lining somewhere along the line.
"This season's championship is the most open in years. If we do our part well and get our performances right in the next two weeks who knows were we will end up? After all, it's still our title to defend."
Williams was an automatic selection on the left wing for Dafydd James, once he had recovered from the dead leg which kept him sidelined for the Ireland game and Johnson hopes he can bring the attacking spark Wales so badly missed in Dublin.
"Italy will be strong - they are the biggest improvers in the championship. But that is exactly the test we need, to get ourselves back on track," said Johnson.
"Shane signifies how intend to play the game. Everyone knows the skills Shane brings to the table. It is no secret what we want to do - and he represents that.
"The kid has got something you can't coach, and we need that something."
Peter O'Mahony was named man of the match against England last month
21 April 2017, 7:22pm
Peter O'Mahony's performance in the RBS 6 Nations finale for Ireland against England was crucial to his selection for the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday, Ireland and Lions defence coach Andy Farrell has revealed.