Tom Shanklin believes Wales broke through a significant psychological barrier by beating England in their RBS 6 Nations opener.
The Welsh centre, once offered the chance of playing for England by Sir Clive Woodward, is hopeful the glory days can now return.
"We would have been hugely sick if we had lost that match," said Shanklin, whose fellow centre Gavin Henson supplied the towering touchline kick three minutes from time which secured a deserved 11-9 victory.
"We've had two games like that in the autumn with South Africa and New Zealand. We played better rugby in those games and lost, and that's why the win for us this time was the most important thing.
"We've played better but to win such a big game was a huge psychological boost."
Shanklin, a former Saracens and London Welsh star but now with Cardiff Blues, also predicts 23-year-old Henson will be the shining light as Wales continue their rejuvenation.
"Gavin was on fire against England," said Shanklin. "Wherever that penalty had been he would have kicked it. When he's in the zone like that I don't think he can miss. Ask the Osprey boys."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.