England produced a dominant second-half performance to secure a 27-13 win over Wales at Twickenham on Sunday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
As this year’s Six Nations and Grand Slam champs, England once again proved how far they’ve come under coach Eddie Jones, with a new-look side securing an impressive result that will serve as a timely morale booster ahead of their series against Australia.
Although the hosts made a sluggish start to the match, and trailed by three points at the break, they outscored Wales 17-0 in the second stanza as they closed out a comfortable victory in the end.
Ahead of their upcoming tour to New Zealand, Wales selected their strongest available match 23, and made the more meaningful start as prop Rob Evans went over for a try as early as the sixth minute after an impressive buildup.
Wales also signalled their ambitious intent when they opted to kick a penalty to the corner rather than at posts soon after, but when they eventually did decide to take the points on offer, Dan Biggar slotted a simple three-pointer to open up an early 10-0 lead.
With England missing a number of players who were involved in Saturday’s English Premiership final, there were a number of new combinations in place, but on a beautiful day in London, it was clear they had come to play.
After an extended period of pressure, the hosts received due reward as centre Luther Burrell ran a good line to score England’s first try on the quarter-hour mark. Next, it was the turn of winger Anthony Watson to display his superb finishing skills as he twisted in a tackle and planted the ball on the tryline to double his side’s lead.
England had done well to work their way back into the clash, but flyhalf George Ford endured an off day from the kicking tee, missing six kicks in total. By contrast, Biggar enjoyed 100% success in front of goal. In the end though, it mattered not.
Despite trailing 13-10 at the break and the fact that Ford was having a goal-kicking nightmare, England hit the lead for the first time just after the restart when scrumhalf Ben Youngs displayed nifty footwork to ghost over for another try.
Two minutes later and there was a moment of controversy when England No 8 Jack Clifford pounced on a loose ball and darted over to score. Although it looked as if there had been a knock-on in the lead-up to the try, the TMO ruled nothing was clear and obvious, and suddenly the Six Nations champs found themselves 22-13 to the good.
With momentum on their side and the England scrum starting to dominate, Jones’s charges began to take complete control of proceedings, and when winger Marland Yarde went over for their fifth try in the 61st minute, the game was as good as won.
England – Tries: Luther Burrell, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs, Jack Clifford, Marland Yarde. Conversion: George Ford.
Wales – Try: Rob Evans. Conversion: Dan Biggar. Penalties: Biggar (2).
England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jack Clifford, 7 James Haskell, 6 Teimana Harrison, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Matt Mullan. Subs: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Elliot Daly.
Wales – 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Dan Lydiate (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, Rob Evans. Subs: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 James King, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Gareth Anscombe.
Photo: David Rogers/RFU