Wales beat England 13-6 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.
Following a ferocious match between these Six Nations rivals seven days ago, this week’s clash started out in subdued fashion. But Wales still managed to get a slight edge early on and they built from there to seal a confidence-boosting victory.
In a stifled first half, both sides struggled to get going with England more so than Wales.
The hosts, though, created some wonderful scoring chances but were wasteful. They also turned down several shots at goal. Warren Gatland’s men did eventually get on the board in the 26th minute when Dan Biggar slotted a penalty after a sustained period of pressure.
Moments later, George Ford made a scintillating linebreak through the heart of the Welsh defence, but the opportunity went begging as he failed to find a support runner.
With the half heading to a close, England’s Anthony Watson was sent off for a deliberate knock-on. With the aim to exploit Wales’ man-over advantage, Bigger opted for a crossfield kick from the penalty. And after a couple of phases the ball was worked back to him before another cross kick was gathered out wide by George North for the first try of the game and a handy 10-point lead for Wales at the break.
— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) August 17, 2019
England were much improved early in the second half and even more so when talisman Owen Farrell replaced Piers Francis at inside centre.
Ford got England within four of Wales’ tally courtesy of two penalties. With England playing with more impetus on attack, Wales were forced to make some desperate tackles.
Next it was England’s turn to defend their line, with Maro Itoje front and centre of that stubborn resistance.
That set up a tense finish as both sides went in search of a match-defining score. And it went the way of Wales when Leigh Halfpenny nudged over a penalty to ensure Wales win the game.
Wales – Try: George North. Conversion: Dan Biggar. Penalties: Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny.
England – Penalties: George Ford (2).
Wales – 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith.
Subs: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Owen Watkin.
England – 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ellis Genge.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jack Singleton, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi.
Photo: Welsh Rugby Union