England claimed a commanding 33-19 victory over Wales in their World Cup warm-up Test at Twickenham on
As with most warm-up fixtures, one shouldn’t read too much into these results. But it does say something about England’s improvement over the last couple of months that they’ve been able to repair some of the flaws that took them to defeat against Wales in the Six Nations earlier this year.
As for Wales, the loss brings an end to their 14-match winning streak and deprives them the of the rare opportunity to unseat the All Blacks as the No 1-ranked team in the world.
Notwithstanding the result, both Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland were dealt injury setbacks when England’s Tom Curry and Wales’ Gareth Anscombe hobbled off.
After a passionate rendition of their national anthem, England made a passionate start against a Wales side that were uncharacteristically lethargic and slow out of the blocks.
No 8 Billy Vunipola and wing Joe Cokanasiga powered over from close range and captain George Ford converted two chances for a 14-point lead.
But as the commentator so perfectly summed up, after 20 minutes of England power, 20 seconds of Wales magic meant it was game on. Scrumhalf Gareth Davies went on a strong run to get Wales’ first score.
But all their good work was undone when Wales got a defensive lineout wrong and the ball flew over the top and into the path of Cowan Dickie, who eased in for England’s third.
Ford extended England’s lead with a penalty after the break, but besides that early penalty they conceded it was a much rejuvenated Wales that came out. The visitors scored two unanswered tries to get within five on the scoreboard.
But just as it looked like England may ran out of steam, Wales’ discipline let them down at a crucial time and Ford was on hand to make them pay with a couple of penalties.
When another England attack went south in the face of fierce Welsh defence, Elliot Daly scooped up the loose ball and slotted a drop goal to seal the triumph for his side.
England — Tries: Billy Vunipola, Joe Cokanasiga, Luke Cowan-Dickie. Conversions: George Ford (3). Penalties: Ford (3). Drop goal: Elliot Daly.
Wales — Tries: Gareth Davies, George North, Wyn Jones. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar.
England — 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Lewis Ludlam, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 George Kruis, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Joe Marchant, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
Wales — 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith.
Subs: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Owen Watkin.