Written off before the tournament following a Six Nations wooden spoon, Wales rediscovered themselves at Rugby World Cup 2003.
A brilliant attacking display against New Zealand in their final pool game served warning to those teams left in the competition that they were not to be taken lightly.
World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Shane Williams had been a revelation since his transition rom scrum-half to wing and, inspired by his dancing feet, Wales were in danger of pulling off one of the greatest shocks in Rugby World Cup history when, with 20 minutes remaining, they led the mighty All Blacks 37-33.
However, New Zealand regained their composure and scored three late tries to win by a flattering scoreline of 53-37.
So World Rugby let me fanboy over my favourite player of all time to his face. Amazed I lasted a couple of questions before just outright confessing my love. https://t.co/veK8KwmnMc— Squidge Rugby (@SquidgeRugby) April 28, 2020
One week later, Wales produced another masterclass of running rugby to lead quarter-final opponents England 10-3 at half-time.
Another jinxing run from Williams, and good support play from Gareth Cooper and Gareth Thomas, ended with Stephen Jones (main picture) scoring one of the tries of the tournament.
Colin Charvis and Martyn Williams also crossed the whitewash as Wales outscored out-of-sorts England three tries to one.
But after bringing on Mike Catt at half-time, England got their tactics spot on and gradually wrestled back control of the match.
With their tackle count going through the roof, Wales inevitably bowed under the pressure and Jonny Wilkinson was in no mood to let them off the hook, kicking six penalties and a drop goal as well as converting Will Greenwood’s try, created by a scything break from Jason Robinson.
While England won the match, 28-17, Wales won a host of new admirers, and also their pride back.
"We're extremely relieved but it was about winning," said England head coach Clive Woodward.
"There were some pretty harsh words at half-time and some colourful language, but we got the message across.
"Some of the decision-making was not up to our usual standard but we are still winning.
"Well done Wales though. We took them seriously and we are glad to win.”