"DEVASTATING" was how Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Michael Owen, a second- half replacement, described Wales' shocking World Cup defeat by Fiji in Nantes on Saturday.
The result not only knocked Wales out of the World Cup before the quarter-final stage, but brought about the dismissal of Gareth Jenkins as coach.
Speaking after the game and before the dramatic turn of events overnight, Owen said: "It was devastating, really disappointing, a terrible result. We got what we deserved, the first 20 minutes were a nightmare for us and we should have won it at the end.
"The players believe it was unacceptable as well, and it was fantastic to see our supporters still clapping us.
"But in the last two years since we won the Grand Slam (Owen was captain for the final two games) we have been really poor.
"We've just got to take it on the chin and we've got to make sure performances like that don't happen again."
Owen would not be drawn either after the game or back in Wales yesterday about the future of the coach in view of the shock World Cup exit and previous results.
"There's nothing the players can do about that, it's not for them to answer questions like that, it's one for the administrators," he said after the match, simply adding yesterday after the Jenkins sacking: "No comment." Clearly the players were under orders to say nothing.
But Owen did admit: "We've been underperforming, we've been playing the same in the World Cup and it's not good enough.
"I've been in these situations before, more times than I care to remember, in fact, and you learn to just get on with it. It's the responsibility of players to go away now and work hard.
"We got what we deserved, but the team is working hard, success will come, it's a matter of time. We can definitely have success, there is brilliant potential in the side, but it's not been turned into results.
"We've got to go away and work hard and make sure this doesn't happen again. People will react now and it's their right, we can't hide from that, I've experienced it before and it's not nice.
"We won the Grand Slam in 2005, but two years before that we lost to Italy and we were the worst Welsh team ever.
"But this can only make us stronger, we've got the players with potential to turn it round. I'm sure it can be done, we are capable of it."
l Wales outside-half and previous captain Stephen Jones answered one difficult question, many people believing the Fijians' late and match-winning try debatable after a decision went to the TV match official.
"It was a try," said Jones, who was nearby, adding: "We're all fully aware of the reaction we'll get, we're very upset.
"But we can bounce back, we've got to be honest with ourselves and focus on the right things."