Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales just beginning says Gerald Davies

Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate
Faletau (20), Warburton (23) and Lydiate (23) are leading Wales' next generation

Wales great Gerald Davies believes the national team could be set for another golden era despite their World Cup disappointment in New Zealand.

Ex-wing Davies was part of the great Wales side of the 1970s and believes the current crop will use their semi-final loss to France positively.

Wales finish their campaign in Friday's third place play-off with Australia.

"For me it's the matter now of thinking this is the beginning, not the end," Davies told BBC Sport.

"Yes it's the World Cup, it's the pinnacle of their career to play in the World Cup.

"But I'd like to think that these players, as young as they are, talented as they are, when they go home they will simply think that this is the start of something good.

"I'd like to believe that will be the case, that they will regroup, they will get rid of the 'psychological damage' of the failure and... go on to better things."

Wales lost 9-8 to Les Bleus despite playing the majority of the game a man down after the early sending-off of captain Sam Warburton.

Davies, who is a Welsh Rugby Union board member, admits that Wales' current good form could have seen them go all the way in the tournament, but says there is a building block there not to be wasted.

"It [the chance to win a World Cup] will have slipped through the net, but there is more to come," added Davies.

"You cannot exist in sport without believing that there are higher mountains to climb, there are Everests that lie ahead.

"But if you are a good enough team, and you must be a good enough team, you take them and competition is going to be stiff.

"We may lose along they way but you can't leave hope outside the door, you must believe that there are better things to come - or why else continue to play?"

Wales coach Warren Gatland is already under contract for another four years, while Davies is hopeful Wales can keep together the rest of the coaching staff.

Defence coach Shaun Edwards has admitted he does not yet know where his future lies but Davies hopes the Wasps head coach will be able to continue with Wales.

"I'd like to think he will stay with us but who knows, that will be something that he will determine," Davies said.

"All I am able to say at the moment is his contribution to this Welsh team, prior to the World Cup and during this World Cup, has been immense.

"The defensive patterns of the Wales team have been second to none, they have held firm in the hardest and most questionable of times... he's made a huge contribution to us in Wales."

Listen to Alastair Eykyn's full interview with Gerald Davies on BBC Radio 5 Live's rugby show between 2100 and 2230 BST on Thursday, 20 October.

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