JJ Williams wrote off Wales' World Cup chances after Dan Biggar stepped into the number 10 shirt, but he responded with a fine display.
Dan Biggar gave "special thanks" to JJ Williams after his man-of-the-match display in Wales' 13-6 win over England.
A cruciate knee ligament injury to Gareth Anscombe during last weekend's defeat at Twickenham thrust Biggar into the number 10 shirt – prompting former Wales great Williams to state his country would not win the forthcoming World Cup with the Northampton Saints fly-half in the team.
But Biggar kicked a penalty and a conversion, the latter coming courtesy of him brilliantly creating the only try of a low-scoring contest for George North as Wales edged ahead of New Zealand at the top of the world rankings.
"Special thanks to JJ Williams for his comments this week, it's been really motivating," said Biggar, as quoted by BBC Sport.
"The forwards were brilliant all day - England's strength is in the set piece, to front up and keep a world-class team try-less is an excellent effort.
"We go to Turkey for a week to hopefully get better for the two Ireland games."
Captain Alun Wyn Jones lauded Biggar's display and the wider achievement of his side, who overcame Liam Williams withdrawing due to a tight hamstring in the warm-up.
"Ten is a position in Wales that has always been in vogue. Fair play to Dan, he stood up knowing the pressure was on him at home," said the veteran lock.
"We are a team of 3.3 million so we can be happy with [being world number one]."
Wales coach Warren Gatland told Channel 4 he was impressed with his players' character during a contest that wasn't always easy on the eye.
"It was a proper Test match, it was tough, it was physical," he said.
"I said to the boys in the changing room, we showed massive character and big cojones. We lost Williams just before kick-off.
"Other teams are going to beat us at some stage, but if you're going to beat us you have to play pretty well."
George Ford captained an experimental England line-up and was responsible for the visitors' entire points haul.
"It's a disappointing result [but] I can't fault the effort, the commitment was brilliant again," he told Channel 4, before concurring with Gatland's assessment.
"We just need to tidy a few areas up - discipline and the breakdown.
"We knew Wales were going to come back. We wanted to play a better game this week too. That was a proper Test match - physical, not much time and space.
"It's been good for us to play in a stadium like this with the roof closed, so we'll keep working."
Ford added: "I don't think many people will remember these games. What happens at the World Cup in a few weeks' time will be completely different so we'll be ready for that."