Ryan Jones believes the future is bright for Warren Gatland's men.
As Wales begin their flight home from New Zealand, Warren Gatland's team can reflect on a tough journey where they have come through some rocky times to confirm their place at rugby's top table once again.
A number of the youngsters have really grown up on this tour and during the four months we have been together
Former Wales skipper Ryan Jones believes that despite coming up short in the Bronze Final against Australia, Gatland's warriors have put Wales's name back up in bright lights.
"We thought we could beat Australia and do something special. We really wanted to finish with a medal. We hoped to leave with the third-place medal, but it has been a good tournament and we put Wales back on the rugby map.
"We came here with (some) players who we didn't know if they could play at this level, but we can be proud of what we have done. Some guys have played the best rugby of their careers, and we have to build on that.
"We play Australia at the Millennium Stadium in December, and then there is the Six Nations, so there are chances for us to build on this."
Jamie Roberts, one of the standout players of the tournament, believes that once Wales can eradicate basic errors from their game, they will turn narrow defeats into victories.
"We will go away with a feeling we can compete with the best in world rugby. That is a mindset to take into the match against Australia in December, the forthcoming Six Nations, the tour to Australia next summer and the next couple of years.
"If we get things right we will put teams like this [Australia] away. We made too many simple errors and, at this level, errors like that will lose you games. There are no excuses.
"We haven't beaten a southern hemisphere team down here, so that is the disappointing thing. Our next opportunity to do that comes next summer.
"To go from the elation of that Ireland [quarter-final] victory to events of the last two weeks has been emotionally very tough but that is the fine line at this level. We need to take it on the chin and move forward."
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny added: "The future does look promising with a lot of excellent players coming through. It is proof the academy system we have got in Wales is working.
"A number of the youngsters have really grown up on this tour and during the four months we have been together. They have been a joy to be with - they have brought this team together.
"I think Welsh rugby is in a good place, and we are going home to a proud nation. The same amount of hard work has got to go in again for the Six Nations. It is important the boys go away from here and keep up the hard work, so when we come together for the Six Nations we are all ready to go."
The Wales Sevens squad travelled to Aldershot yesterday for one last chance to stake their claims for a coveted Rugby World Cup spot. And as Wales Team Manager Dai Jenkins tells WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie, some tough decisions will have to be made before the squad is announced tomorrow.
Lions, Wales, SWALEC Finals Day, Rugby World Cup, Wales Sevens in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Dan Lydiate on his Lions selection, Wales coach Robin McBryde on the squad to tour Japan, WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis and First Minister Carwyn Jones welcome the news there will be eight 2015 Rugby World Cup games in Cardiff. We speak to all six clubs involved in SWALEC Finals Day, Neath, Pontypridd, Rhydfelin, Heol-y-Cyw, Wattstown and Fishguard and Goodwick. We also hear from Wales Sevens coach Paul John and scrum half Tavis Knoyle.
World Cup draw reaction in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Wales coach Warren Gatland, captain Sam Warburton, England captain Chris Robshaw and Australia coach Robbie Deans, as well as getting the views of former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio and former Wales captain Jonathan Humphreys. We speak to Wales duo Mike Phillips and Ryan Jones on the disappointment against Australia, as well as Ian Gough on the Ospreys, Simon Easterby on the Scarlets and Wales Sevens captain Rhys Shellard after their Plate success in Dubai.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton assess the daunting draw Wales have been given in the 2015 Rugby World Cup after England, Australia, Oceania 1 and the Play-off winner were all pulled out of the hat for Pool A.
Wales return from the Rugby World Cup in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from centre Jamie Roberts and backs coach Rob Howley, while Ireland wing Tommy Bowe gives his assessment of Wales. We also speak to Gavin Henson as he is unveiled by the Cardiff Blues, while chairman Peter THomas explains their thinking. It is time for the Movember campaign to raise awareness and money for men's cancers, we speak to Movember corporate manager Jonathan Simm and Blues back rower Andries Pretorious.
Pride, and heartbreak are the conflicting emotions from the Rugby World Cup in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from the fans at the Millennium Stadium, while Down Under we talk to Warren Gatland, Neil Jenkins, Robin McBryde, Dan Lydiate and Paul James, looking back on the lost of France and the play-off game against Australia.
There was no fairytale finish to the 2011 Rugby World Cup for Wales, although they won the admiration of fans around the globe as they ended a magnificent campaign with an 83rd minute try from Leigh Halfpenny.
There were more people at the Millennium Stadium watching the World Cup semi-final than they had in Eden Park and every one of the 61,543 early risers in the Welsh capital believed Wales could reach their first final.