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Victorious Wales see off resurgent England

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Tom Fordyce | 21:11 UK time, Saturday, 25 February 2012

With five minutes left on the clock on Saturday evening and both sides on weak legs and wobbly nerves after a wonderfully ferocious contest, it seemed that we were going to see the first try-less Test between England and Wales in 32 years and only their second draw in 44 years.

Scott Williams had other ideas. The 21-year-old Scarlets centre, only on the pitch because of injury to the more heralded Jamie Roberts, will now go into the record books as the scorer of a famous match-winning try for Wales at Twickenham alongside JPR Williams, Adrian Hadley and Mike Phillips.

Before his late larceny on Courtney Lawes he had already made two key contributions, first dragging Mouritz Botha to the ground after the England lock had blocked Rhys Priestland's clearing kick and threatened to score his side's third charge-down try in three matches. With 12 minutes to go he capitalised on a barrelling break from Ryan Jones and had George North outside him, unmarked and untroubled to the line, had he not taken the ball into contact instead.

Redemption was to follow. Lawes, rumbling over halfway, was robbed. With England's line up flat, the kick through took him into acres of open space, and the bounce of the ball did the rest. Lucky? Not a bit of it. Wales practice ball-stealing in every training session.

That had seemed enough late drama even for this contest, but David Strettle's was-it-wasn't-it try in the corner as the clock ran out had the 81,598 packed into the stadium with hearts in mouths and hands on heads.

It was a horrible decision for television match official Iain Ramage to have to make, but from the replays I saw he looked to have got it right.

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While the post-match arguments in the bars under Twickenham's concrete stands were all of a rumoured super-slow-mo replay which some felt had shown Strettle grounding the ball, the desperate defence of Wales' backs should not be ignored. Leigh Halfpenny delayed Strettle's dash for the line with a kamikaze dive at his flying feet, Jonathan Davies somehow turned him on the line and North shoved the ball off the paint before the winger could get clear downward pressure.

Even had the decision been given, Toby Flood would then have had to land a conversion from the right-hand touchline, the wrong side for the natural shape of his kick, to secure England the draw. For his first place-kick of the match he could not have asked for a tougher one.

Warren Gatland was relatively sanguine about the incident. "If they had been awarded a try we wouldn't have complained about that," he admitted, before gently raising the issue of Flood's conversion chances.

Lancaster's reaction at the time - frozen still with Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree disconsolate on either side, staring expressionlessly at referee Steve Walsh as he signalled no try - also refused to hang the game on that single heart-stopping second. "It was far away from us. I stopped looking in the end because it wasn't my decision. Games are won and lost on lots of things that happened during the match so I don't want to dwell on one moment."

After two distinctly average performances brought wins, Lancaster had seen his side produce easily their best rugby of his short reign but finish on the losing side.

Yet the display of his inexperienced XV - seven of them making their Twickenham debuts, both half-back and centre pairings playing together for the first time - will ensure that the defeat does little damage to his hopes of being awarded the job full time.

Rain in Murrayfield and snow in Rome had given him ready-made excuses, had he wanted them, for England's lack of creativity in their first two matches. In warm west London sunshine more suited to cricket than winter rugby, his side not only showed that they could play but did so with a pace and style that had choruses of 'Swing Low' breaking out before the interval. And that hasn't happened for a long, long time.

His trio of full debutants - Lee Dickson, Geoff Parling and Ben Morgan - all justified both their inclusion and retention for the difficult trip to Paris that follows in a fortnight. Dickson's speed of pass transformed the options of men outside him. Parling was arguably more impressive in the loose than his specialist area of line-out, while Morgan added impetus and zip before fading late.

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At the heart of England's best work was the precocious Owen Farrell, reminding many of another tyro 10 who burst into international rugby with big hits, calm kicking and a fresh face.

He is not yet the finished article, just as Jonny Wilkinson took time to dominate at the highest level. But his decision-making belied his tender years, his defence was flawless and his appetite for the fray undiminished by a hit from North that would have snapped most watching in two.

Wales' defence coach Shaun Edwards was still playing for Wigan when the younger Farrell used to come in to training with father Andy, so has seen both develop from close quarters.

"He's got the assurance his dad had at that age," he said afterwards. "And his dad had assurance beyond his years."

Despite all the talk during the week of the dents the giant Welsh backs would punch in the thin white line, the home defence was resolute throughout. The centre pairing of Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi looks as promising a combo as England have had in years.

Where they disappointed, and where Lancaster might have erred, was in their choice and timing of replacements. Ben Youngs struggled with the speed and accuracy of his pass, Matt Stevens gave away a foolish penalty to allow Halfpenny to bring the scores level and Lawes had his pocket picked for the key score of the game.

Their game management in the last 15 minutes also suffered in comparison to that of a vastly more experienced Welsh side. But Lancaster had seen enough in his first game in charge at headquarters to be optimistic about what might follow.

"We've been together for less than four weeks now, and I think it's a credit to the team that they played that well," he said afterwards.

"The lads played with credit and did the rose proud. The reality is that games at this level are won by very fine margins, and it is up to us to learn those lessons.

"The players are hurting, but that shows what it means to them. I'm very proud of them and they effort they put in; some of the things we've been working on in training is beginning to come through."

Wales captain Sam Warburton was far from happy afterwards, despite the win and another man of the match award. "We didn't play well at all," he told BBC Sport.

For the first 20 minutes his side had been dominant. In that opening quarter they enjoyed 72% possession and 64% of territory, but they failed to garner the points to match that pressure.

When Rhys Priestland was sin-binned four minutes into the second half, England threatened to turn their three-point lead into a decisive one. But whereas the yellow card received by Alun Wyn Jones in the corresponding fixture two years ago triggered an avalanche of 17 home points, this time the score for that 10-minute period read 3-3.

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"We played better with 14 men than 15 men," said Gatland. "To be level in that period and keeping the ball for the whole 10 minutes was probably the turning point in the match.

"That was the way we should have played with 15 men. We were probably guilty of trying to move it on too many occasions without having earned that right."

What Wales have started doing in this tournament is winning the close games that in the World Cup got away from them. In the last 10 minutes it was the visitors playing with more composure. Priestland, after his earlier troubles, came good just in time.

Gatland also paid tribute to his skipper Warburton, who has been unable to do any contact work since coming off against Ireland three weeks ago yet whose work at the breakdown conjured key turnovers and penalties as the pressure mounted. "Today Sam showed his real class and quality," he said.

The statistics reflect the tightness of the game. England conceded 13 penalties to Wales 12; both sides won five turnovers. England kicked from hand 23 times, Wales 22. The Welsh line-out was not the weakness some had anticipated - they lost two of nine to England's one in eight - while both made close to 90% of their tackles.

But it is Wales who will now believe that they can win their second Grand Slam under the Gatland-Edwards axis. With Italy and France both to travel to Cardiff, there are more than a few who will agree with them.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    In truth Wales were poor, England played their best game so far, and still lost. Promising for both teams tho, England showed true potential, Wales showed they have what great teams need, the ability to win when playing poorly.

    Warburton- Immense, what else can you say.

    Preistland-Nightmare! gave away majority of penalties and almost cost us the game.

    Farrell- Great game, could be a special find.

    Tuilagi- Massive player for England, different animal with him in the team.

    Finally, what a game! Hats off to both teams, they put it all on the line. Game of the tournament so far

  • Comment number 2.

    I can see why the try was not given, but I cant understand why the ref didn't go back for the penalty. There is also a case that having penalised Wales for dragging down a rolling maul about 1 metre from their line, that the ref should have gone under the posts, although that would have been a huge call.

    Plenty of positives though:
    Dickson and Farrell had excellent games at half back,
    Barritt and Tuilangi looked an effective pairing at centre.
    Apart from a mistake in the first minute, Parling did well, and Morgan looks comfortable at 8.
    Taking into account the Under 20s, and also some of the recent Aviva games, there are signs that English rugby is moving forward - the Gloucester v Quins game was outstanding.


    A few negatives:
    Youngs was shocking, and needs to be dropped from the match day squad
    Stevens was guilty of gross stupidity,
    Ashton looks a shadow of the player he was last season, and is lucky to be in the team

    Mostly a step in the right direction, despite England failing to close out the game, but they do need to sort out the bench for the next game. Stevens and Youngs were terrible. Also I am not convinced that Brown and Dowson offer enough from the bench - Brown has been in great form at club level, and is very reliable, but is hardly the outside back you want to see coming on when you are trying to get back into the game. Dowson was unlucky not to be selected 2 years ago when he was the form back row in English rugby, but I think his time has gone.

    After watching the Gloucester game, I did start to wonder whether it is too early to write off Sinbad. Logic says that because of his injury record his time has gone, but he still offers an attacking threat nobody else in English rugby can match.

  • Comment number 3.

    ive noticed england supporters making much of the the fact that play wasnt restarted after the tmo ruled strettle didnt ground the ball properly. Well it was because the advantage rule had been applied..and its difficult to argue that england with a move that very nearly yielded a try ....and which frankly england should have scored from....hadnt been given as much benefit as the advantage rule allows. The advantage rule does not mean that if a team given the advantage doesnt score a try they are then given a penalty a full three minutes later...which is what some england supporters seem to think should have happened today. And with no time left to play the tmo rightly advised the ref that time was up!

    also if i could just correct tom in that the wales england encounter 32 years ago wasnt trie-less - as wales scored two tries in that game..tho unfortunately still lost to a last gasp dusty hare penalty...wales i recall missing something like 7 kicks that day. but that didnt bother england then...and in truth it wouldnt have bothered them today if they'd won purely thru penalty kicks!

    As such a dour negative approach always seems to be a feature of every england rugby side over the decades....indeed...despite lancaster being lauded all over the english media for the 'improvements' he has brought to england..it appears that their entire game plan is based upon gaining penalties and preying on the oppositions mistakes!

    Yes they got away with it against scotland and italy...but in truth it was never going to be enough to win today..nor will it be enough for england against france in paris or against ireland. So for all the wild and premature talk of this england team having a great future...and today being something to build on...rugby reality is that england could well end up this season winning just two games and finishing in the bottom half of the championship.....which their boring one dimensional game probably deserves!... so much for england's revival...and with a track record like that i wouldnt give much for lancaster's chances when rob andrew and co review the england coaching position at the end of the season......which will probably be a bit unfair on lancaster...but if they can sack johnson after winning englands first championship in nearly a decade i dont think andrew and co would hesitate to say goodbye to a coach who's presided over an england side winning only two game sin the championship.......

    That said there's no question that england played well today...at least in the sense that they succeeded in their game plan of stopping wales from playing for large parts of the game. there's also no question in that players like farrel, dickson, morgan and parling they have some true international quality young players coming thru..but just as england dont do attacking rugby..they dont do bringing on promising young players very well......anyone remember a supremely talented young fly half called cipriani? they should do because its only 4 years ago that he dismantled a good irish side at twickenham...yet within a year or so he'd been discarded and dreary old england had reverted to picking the trusty old warhorse jonny at number ten.....but jonny was a safe pair of hands and he kicked the goals and for english rugby thats pretty much all that matters...frankly im not sure what england rugby followers would do if england started to regularly select a fly half who actualy tried to create anything...thats if such a player even exists that is..... also i notice that chris ashton...hailed as the best and most exciting thing to happen to english rugby for years has started to come under criticism by english rugby fans this season....as the post above confirms......

    i agree with those who say that wales didnt play well today..but thats because they were largely stopped from doing so by a fiercely competitive english side...for which lancaster certainly deserves credit...but wales scored the only try...and indeed were the only team that ever looked to have the creativity to score tries.......and when it mattered most it was that attacking edge that england just dont have at present which won a the game for wales.........a truly enthralling game i should add..in which both teams played a full part....

  • Comment number 4.

    @2 I certainly agree the bench didn't look right. Mainly because Flood and Brown are specialists in one position, which limits options. Also I think you would want quick players on the bench to exploit any tiredness. However looking at the eps I don't see many options. Sharples and JTH maybe?

    With regards Ashton. He doesn't seem to be playing as well but there were plenty of examples of good handling from him and in the second half there were a few occasions I saw him running his support lines like last year, so perhaps his form is coming back.

  • Comment number 5.

    A very good test match but was second to the Eddie Butler/Brian Moore commentating "neutrality" in the box. Absolute classic - Wales go 12-6 down and Moore crows/gleefully ccomments as Swing Low reverberates around Twickenham ......"Let's see what this Welsh side have got now then?"..............

    Umm.............. that'll be 13 unanswered points and a triple crown in the away dressing room then Brian.

    Priceless!!

    Don't believe a lot of the nonsense about England - going into this game they'd won 5 of their last 6 internationals and all away from Twickenham. Still a tough unit.

  • Comment number 6.

    Playing heads up rugby on the field is the holy grail, but heads up coaching is just as important. There is no need to turn to subs at 60mins if the game is going well.

    I thought Lancaster was a bit naive in his subs.

    Youngs should never have been on the bench, he has been awful since Ireland last year and does not deserve his place on current form - but that is a problem with the EPS. Same with Dowson, he detracted from the game and we became stagnant.

    Ashton, Strettle and Foden are also not the form players and need to be changed for the last two games.

    I still don't think Lancaster is the long term solution - too naive and I suspect that Hodgson would have started with Farrell if fit.

    I think the centre pairing looked good, but strangely last year our only threat came from the back three - they look very sterile now.

    Other than that, I thought we looked very positive and dangerous. Wales were subdued by the defence but had a bit more experience and control when it mattered.

    Walsh has no idea how to ref a breakdown - Morgan would have been man of the match if Walsh took account of the laws.

  • Comment number 7.

    Fantasic game of rugby union but in the end a Williams once again secured a welsh victory, who needs Shane or JPR!

  • Comment number 8.

    @3 you make some good points but I have to disagree with a number of points.

    The reason Cipriani was dropped and forgotten about is because he has a terrible attitude towards rugby and he only has himself to blame.

    You also state that Wales looked like the only team that had the creativity to score tries. I take it you didn't see the last ditch tackle by Warburton to stop Tuilagi scoring in the first half? Or the cross kick to Strettle that was just knocked back by North? Or indeed the last few minutes of the tmo reviewing footage to see if England had scored? That said we still failed to score in the final reckoning but I think this will improve with experience playing together.

  • Comment number 9.

    A lot was made of the fact that Wales played well in the World Cup against South Africa and France and lost. Well today the boot was on the other foot as we didn't paly well and won.

    Stevie Walsh, we all remember his nickname from a few years back!!, earlier in the game didn't give Wales a very long penalty advantage, so in this respect was right not to go back. The video ref was right not to give a try as it was inconclusive, IMO he didn't ground it, but there is no way of saying that with certainty.

    Wales IMO will beat Italy next time out, before a potential Grand Slam decider v France and if we stay with 15, I think we will win.

    The strange this is I don't think this a great Welsh side, but its 3 out of 3, and most Welsh sides would have crumpled against the English performance today.

  • Comment number 10.

    Fantastic game but am somewhat bemused as to why Ben youngs wasn't dealt a yellow for the amount of times he was pinged for being off side at the scrum.

    Great game though

  • Comment number 11.

    @6 I find it hard to believe that you can say Foden is not in form. He has made one mistake in 3 games and still run the ball back well despite hardly being brought into play before today.

    The other two looked better today, funnily enough this coincided with England getting some forward momentum and looking to bring them into play.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great Welsh performance today and needed to be. Never believed any of the hype pre-match re how bad England were or how fantstic Wales were, just thought it would be hugely physical game with a try in it and proved right - even tipped England to win. The difference between the teams was the effort in the last 15 - 20 mins - Wales were the stronger and more composed team then. Now once again we'll have the English team being hyped because they gave a good Welsh team a game, it would be nice to read in the papers tomorrow that England aren't really that bad and never really were and the Welsh backs aren't really supermen and never really were.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Welsh team themselves are a work in progress. They sneaked past England and Ireland. They are a shadow of the great Welsh Grand Slam teams of the 1970s and the one of 2005 which ran rings round their opponents and won with ease. This team has solid defence as demonstrated today. However, their hyped backs are hardly dynamite. England showed today that if you get in their faces quickly, then the big bulldozers can be stopped. Apart from Halfpenny, the Welsh back line is hardly one based on flair. I hope that they get their comeuppance against France. They are due to lose a close match. You can't keep expecting to win narrowly. Eventually, you get found out. No doubt if Wales do lose narrowly to France or via a dubious refereeing decision, their fans will hit the roof. Well, Wales have had their fair share of refereeing decisions against Ireland and England. Wales are a good team, with a good back row, but they are not a great team. They are far from convincing.

  • Comment number 14.

    I've seen England a couple of times on tv recently and I saw them almost score a try once.

    #CantPassRunOrTackle...Guff

    #GymMonkeyPingPong

  • Comment number 15.

    Timoflyer, it is you who has no idea of the rugby laws. Morgan MOM? Must be joking. Walsh reffed fairly and reasonably well but should be faulted for allowing scrumhalves to take far to much time to use the ball. Philips yes but possibly more so the English.
    Some other contributors also show their difficulty in distinguishing between good/poor attack and poor/good defense. Overall, I thought Wales deserved the victory, but based on graft and forward play more than over-hyped creativity and back play. England did better than I and many others expected, could improve still further but still lack creativity though not work ethic.
    Personally I was pleased to see the only try scored by a nippy small (relatively) player and not a 2m+, 100kg+ back that wasn't even Halfpenny! Selectors take note! Finally I have never understood why Philips has to take a couple of steps before passing and also has to swing his arms the wrong way before passing. He could have been a great scrumhalf.

  • Comment number 16.

    #2 - i think you're spot on.
    #3 - you were obviously watching a different match - shame as it was really good.

    I remember thinking when Youngs was being warmed up - why have a guy on the bench who isn't good enough to start? If he's not good enough, he shouldn't be in the 22. How right those thoughts proved to be. England were really let down by their bench today. The team played amazingly well - Tuilangi makes the backs threatening, even with Foden, Ashton not at the races, but the moment the subs started on as mentioned, Dowson, Stevens, Youngs, etc, it was downhill from England. Lancaster has done a good job with the new faces, but they need decent back up.

    Wales nearly lost it, got their composure back, and pulled the cat out of the bag. Fascinating to hear Gatland nearly took Priestland off (could even of happened at half time, he was having such a shocker) but decided to leave him on so that he learnt. Brave, brave call, but one made in the long term benefits of the squad. Wales will be better for it. Against a better side though, they can't go awol for 30 minutes and still win. Still, they defended well (Warburton immense again) and did just enough.

    I think Wales could well do the grand slam. France are rebuilding, in that their new coach wants a new way of playing, and they don't always travel well. To win at Cardiff is a big ask. The trouble for Wales though, is can they get better? They've won Grand Slams immediately after World Cups before, and that has led nowhere. Can they do it in three years time, and crucially can they beat southern nations team regularly? England will get better, some players will return to form or disappear, France will have some decent cohesion, so the next few years will be interesting. This could well be their only chance of a Slam for a few years. Let's see if they can do it.

  • Comment number 17.

    On the last gasp penalty, I didn't hear Walsh call 'advantage over' at any time, if he did then no discussion. If he didn't, we still lost but he has some explaining to do.

  • Comment number 18.

    I suspected when I saw the starting line up that England would cause Wales a few problems - my biggest disappointment is that Lancaster has fallen into the trap of managers in any sport - namely of making pre-ordained substitutions.
    Lee Dickson had played Mike Phillips off the park and was running the show with plenty left in the tank and Ben Morgan whilst blowing a bit was still driving England forwards.
    Having said that - I applauded the introduction of Courtney Lawes so what do I know?
    About as much as any pundit it would seem, since hardly any Wales back bar North put their hands up for an automatic Lions spot from what I saw.

  • Comment number 19.

    Very exciting game, credit to both teams for playing plenty of running rugby and to be honest better bounce of the ball/rub of the green the game could have gone either way but, sadly, sob, a great steal and break by Williams for the try. As an England fan some what miffed by a) try decision/not going back for a penalty/maybe a case for penalty try as well b) North stopping a possible try by knocking the ball out deliberately c) Jones constantly binding on the arm and never once cautioned. Having said that England shot themselves in the foot, giving away penalties, points and those subsitutions. Youngs was truely shocking and Steven's a total plank. What was the need of subs, England had played well. It was like SL was making sure each player got a run out on the pitch rather than doing what was best for a win, but then credit due; SL has started a very exciting rebuild and new style of playing. I though Manu was fantastic, Barritt gets better with each game, Dickson really speeded up service to the back (well apart from the painful waits behind those defensive rucks) and credit to the forwards for clearing for him, a big area of improvement in English compared to last RWC. Farrell had a great game, some attack from him today, look much more comfortable at 10 and a great prospect. Pack did well, defended solidly but failed to make too many dents. Wales look a good team but a little one dimensional, like testosterome and press hype has clouded their decision making - 'we're going to run through them, physically dominate' and when they couldn't they looked a bit lost for ideas but I thought the Wales forwards were very good at keeping the number of phases going (esp during the sin bin - very impressive). Anyway things definately looking better for England, sad about losing but happy with development thus far.

  • Comment number 20.

    Warburton said that Wales didn't play well today, I'm just wondering if that is more to do with England not letting them play well? Thought England were excellent today and it took a moment of genius to beat us (along with a kind bounce).

    Thought the try could have been given at the end. Looked a try in the real time shot and I thought it looked a certain grounding. I guess most England fans will say it was wrong and the Welsh will say it was right.

    Well done today Wales. have finally proven that you can win big tense games after struggling through the biggest tests of the WC.

  • Comment number 21.

    Fantastic game from both sides but disappointed that Wales are still kicking the ball away too much. The french back three will also lap it up but even more decisively. I understand about trying to keep the ball on the park but 2 lost from 9 is not a bad line out. Better still keep the possession perhaps they should play like there's a man in the bin for the whole 80 minutes. Biggest disappointment (apart from the great Mike Phillips still taking too many steps before passing) is that they dont seem to use Jamie Roberts as a dummy runner enough. He always attracts two defenders. How many times did Farrell take him high while Barritt took him low. Miss out Roberts and it's a potential overlap on most plays. Need more brain power and less crash wallop to keep the defence guessing. Still two young teams that have years of great encounters to look forward to. I don't think my nerves will make it!

  • Comment number 22.

    The Welsh backs are the best in the 6N, however if the fly half has a shocker then they're left in a bit of a hole.

    It was a very interesting call by Gatland to leave Preistland on, hopefully he will have learnt but it could have destroyed his confidence.

    England surprised me with the chances they created, Tuilangi and Farrell were superb.

    From an English perspective it must be a worry that even with such a advantage at fly half they still lost the game.

    Overall a superbly intense game and one Wales did well to get anything from...

  • Comment number 23.

    19, if you want to talk about scrums how about england consistantly driving in which is illeagal?

    it was ripe in the 2 games before the WC and now refs need to up their game.

  • Comment number 24.

    Haha, loving that the English believe that their backline is better than Wales. Look at the starting 15 of both sides, England would take probley 8/9 player whilst Wales as a unit would only take Dylan Hartley. Everyone heard dallaglio saying the English could dominate the scrum and yet I saw per domination for Adam and Gefin, and with our 3rd choice hooker in ken owens. Then the 2nd rows, Ian Evans is our 4/5th choice second row and jones had just came back from a 3 month layoff and both had good games mainly in the loose. The backrow has been talked about being balanced compared to England where like Ireland they have a blindside playing on the openside. Personally I thought Robshaw had a poor game conceding a critical pen at the wrong time as Wales were starting to dominate. The half back were a contrast, Phillips has been noted to lack a quick pass but adds presences and prestland had a poor game with his kicking but he did an ok job getting the backs into the game. Dickson was ok without being amazing, people saying that he kept Phillips quiet is funny because Phillips is always chatting over the refs mic, Farrell had a very good game, but he cramped up after 65 minutes, but he I still sense he could struggle to play the new England way whist playing for sarries. It is like watching 10 man rugby and people saying he lacked expierence at 10, he played last year for sarries at 10. The centres was a car crash, all we're very similar and not surprised to see Williams to make the difference because he is a more footballing centre. Tulangi and Barrett together does look defensively sold but Barrett needs to offer more the offensive game. I personally think that if foden could be converted into a centre that it would give England the balance and would allow brown to bring his expansive game into the mix. And the back 3 saw little ball apart from the kicking out of hand, curthbert is a raw player who can score a try but seems slightly slow in defence. North on the other side had a decent game without being brilliant like against Ireland but remember that he is only 19 and he is only going to get better and if he stays injury free he will be the lions winger probley with Aston or halfpenny. Halfpenny for me has been the most improved welsh player In the last year, last few years be struggled to get into the game and seemed to be like mark jones and lack international class, despite the kicking misses but it takes class to keep your cool and kick the next pen. Compared to England's back 3, firstly strettle is over rated, I would be more excited when wade return from injury and sharples. Now Aston is off form and he hasn had a clear chance to score but it ain't going to get better because he has signed for scarries who won't go to wide, they play safe and him signing for them smacks of success and money before form. Foden is a great player, he runs the ball back well but compared him to rob Kearney and you see that he needs to be more involved in set moves like Kearney or he will end up like lee Byrne who now is an afterthought for the welsh team cos people learnt his game for Wales.

    Overall england played to the best of their ability at the present time and Wales played close to the worst theyve play since the French game in last years 6 nations. But despite this Wales have been blasted for not winning close game in the rwc France SA and Austrailia, remember a lot is made about 7 players havent played at home but Wales had 8/9 players who hadnt played there either and it's a lot to play there when you are the away team. England showed passion not seen in 2 years but I still think to many players who didn't perform in the world cup arent playing now Stevens, youngs, cole and flood. England has new fresh players coming through who could bring a sense of fearlessness, I would like to see Ford brought up from leicester like prestland and give 1 or 2 years to bed into the squad. Wales have seemed to learn to win games that they never looked like they should of, remind you of anyone? England I the last 3 years against scotland an Italy.

    England 8/10
    Wales 6/10
    Referee watch: not a huge fan of him and I think he was poor overall but the English fans who claim that Wales have had luck with refs need to remember the wc semi final, where warbuton was harshly treated compared to other tip tackles in the world cup.

    Cracking game but defends was on top, good luck both teams. From a proud Welshman.

  • Comment number 25.

    very poor article showing Wales bias. Strettle's try was a try. End of. However, overall I thought the game should have been a draw which would have been fair. I pray France beat Wales as they certainly do not deserve a GS.

  • Comment number 26.

    "Walsh reffed fairly and reasonably well "

    Well I agree he reffed fairly - he was equally bad to both sides. From the very start he got the first penalty completely wrong and then continue in that mode all the way through. He was ably assisted by his assistants he clearly have an IRB directive to ignore all laws relating to scrum binding.

    Wales can legitimate complain about at least one line out where the Welsh jumper was taken out in air. Yellow card would have been reasonable. As for English work at breakdown...

    As for England they can legitimate complain about first penalty, virtually every scrum Adam Jones clearly binds on Corbs arm, even when less than 10 feet from touch judge who says nothing.

    The one plus point for Walsh is that this is the first game for a while involving England when not even the most biased England fan is complaining Walsh is anti-English - utterly hopeless possibly but at least even handed.

    Any way back to the game. Warburton was immense, pretty much the reason Wales won. Other Welsh standout players for me were Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Halfpenny. Toby F did not have a great game but still made the hard yards. Welsh second rows made no impact, Ken Owens looked out of his depth and Mike Phillips had a poor game - not going to blame Preistland (some decisions were poor) because the service he was given was so bad and slow.

    England gave away too many penalties and failed to hammer the advantage home when they had chances. Given how inexperienced the team is, they played really well and showed some ambition in attack. Farrell showed he is a 10 and has to be given a run at that position, Morgan showed he may well be the international 8 England have been looking for, Corbs had an excellent game (but Jones definitely had the edge over him in the scrum). But still England flaws remain. The backrow is unbalanced and needs a real openside, the second row (at least until Lawes came on) played well without really convincing and Ashton is not working hard enough in attack.

    My conclusion is that Wales deserved to win. The game plan that took them to RWC semis has been found out and they need a plan B. Mike Phillips has to be replaced, but the bigger problem is the second row. Fully expect Wales to lose to France but in a close game.

    As for England they should look at this as a learning experience. Defence is strong but attack is not creative enough. Robshaw needs to either be dropped or switched to blind side and a real openside picked (Saul?). Bench really worries me. I understand why Stevens versatility means he keeps getting picked but he racks up penalties

  • Comment number 27.

    Is it just me or did England go to the dogs when the subs came on? Stevens? Words fail me. If it was just once or he was a novice at this level fair enough but these daft penalties are becoming tiresome and frustrating. He is as bad as Grewcock was in his day.

    Youngs, is a mystery. One day the polyjuice potion will wear off and we'll find the real Ben Youngs in a cupboard somewhere and see that Ben Elton has been playing instead of him. Everything slowed down and got sloppy when he arrived or so it seemed.

    Lawes I can give some cred to for his tackling and rucking but what the heck was he thinking on the run where he was burgled? Running into three tacklers with no support evident? School boy stuff. You're not that tough mate.

    On balance though I reckon that Lancaster should actually be given the job full time. He has made a crew of novices believe in the honour of wearing the shirt and play like it means something. This team (or a variant of it) can only thrive under his leadership and the RFU should give hime a shot rather than blow millions on another "X Factor" selection.

    Tough loss to watch I have to say, but at least BBC America is now showing the 6 Nations.

  • Comment number 28.

    Post Number 3: Cipriani had precisely one good game for England. In defence, when his pack wasn't bossing the game he was like a revolving door. While recuperating from his admittedly gruesome injury, he seemed to spend more time in night clubs and at celebrity gyms than working on his game. He isn't exactly lighting things up down either so I don't think the lad has too much to complain about.

  • Comment number 29.

    I just wanted to add the fact that if we were picking the lions team tomorrow then there wouldn't be 1 English player in the starting 15.

    1 Jenkins or Healy
    2 Best or Rees
    3 Ad Jones
    4 Gray
    5 AW Jones/ Chartaris
    6 O'brien/ Lydiate
    7 warburton
    8 Faletau/ Heaslip
    9 Murray or Phillips
    10 Sexton
    11 North
    12 Roberts
    13 O'driscoll
    14 halfpenny
    15 kearney

    16 Best/Rees
    17 Healy/ Jenkins
    18 Aw Jones/ Chartaris
    19 Ferris/ Heaslip/ Faletau
    20 Phillips/ Murrary
    21 Hook/ Prestland
    22 Earls/ Bowe

    If Gats gets the job and only picked 5 players from England there would be uproar. But like Woodward who picked has Beene in 2005 and not enough welsh glam slam talent.


    England fans will say 'its about next year not now' but still be worried, the sensible claim to the team is Tulangi. And compare your pool to the other lions nations that is awful, real bad. Currently England are probley ranked 5th in the world and yet the are the 4th best team in the northern hemisphere. Poor showing England wouldnt surprise me to see you guys getting hammered by France or Ireland cos you only stepped up your game because it wales.

  • Comment number 30.

    Both England and Wales can take many positives from that test match.
    For England, a defensive effort that kept the dangerous Welsh unit out for most of the game, and an improved attacking force that will cause most teams a lot of problems. They will never be a push over in any game but need to decide what style of game they can play and stick by it. They've got some exiting outside backs but I'm not convinced that they have the centres to get them into the game.
    There really is no such thing as a weak England team and they have the foundations of a good team in place.
    For Wales, another win that will add to the experience of a youthful team who will take heart from another game that they won away from home. They genuinely play for the full 80 minutes and no team can take their foot off the gas while they are within range of them. Each player seems to have an 80 minute engine on them and a never say die attitude. Wales will lose a few similar games in the future but this is an exiting group of players with their best years ahead of them. The back row look well balanced, the front five solid in the set piece and willing to put their bodies on the line. As much as Priestland has his tactical faults, he takes the ball at pace and get's his backs moving every time enabling them to cross the gain line at will. The centres are full of strength and pace and Leigh Halfpenny has the strength and pace to hurt teams from deep. Wales are still vulnerable in getting sucked into a breakdown contest but they are now making a habit of winning the tight games. People need to realise that there's no such thing as an easy six nations game and their not going to win matches by turning up and going through the motions, scoring easy tries on the way. Gatland, Edward and Howley have instilled a tough mental edge that will be tough for any team to break down. If they stick by their work ethic, they should win against the Italians, and if France come to Cardiff having already lost a game, Wales will be favourites to do the unthinkable again.

  • Comment number 31.

    So am I right in that England have played three games, two of which were against the bottom 2 sides, and have not scored a try through their own making. just charge downs.

  • Comment number 32.

    As an international winger Dave Strettle should have nailed that try without the need to go upstairs. No try simple as that.
    he didn't even ground the ball so what's the fuss about??????
    That game was a good old fashioned dog fight and as much as some people said Wales would win easily it was never going to be that way.
    Wales ground out a win away from home by sticking to their defensive guns and going at England.
    They did what they had to do and didn't panic.

    bring on the Blues.

  • Comment number 33.

    I found the references to 'the brilliant George North' on the coverage extremely annoying. The Welsh team as a whole has been over-hyped, but North personifies this more than anyone. They didn't deserve the victory; England were the better team.

    Was satisfying to see Barritt and Tuilagi boshing the Welsh backs who have been praised so much; it looks like an effective centre-pairing. Farrell in particular was impressive, and I perhaps felt he deserved man of the match. Priestland was awful, I wondered if he'd suffered concussion in some of the tackles England laid on him. Halfpenny was good, as was Warburton, and Williams recovered well after a pretty mediocre opening stint to take his try. Thought Dickson was superb, if a little eager at the scrums. Youngs was pretty awful when he came on, and what has happened to Ashton? He didn't seem to go forward at all.

    Oh, and it was a try.

  • Comment number 34.

    wales 'lucky' to win in ireland? well 3 tries to one tells its own story i think! lucky to win today...well we scored the only try of the game..and could easily have had a couple more but for some outstanding english covering in one case and a bad decision by the welsh centre on another. In contrast england couldnt even score a try when playing aganst 14 men for 10 minutes.

    In fact when faced with a great opportunity to cross the welsh line with a penalty five meters out and wales reduced to 14 men.....boring england chose to kick at goal. In contrast late in the game and with wales trailing by 3 points wales ran a kickable penalty...sums up one of the major differences between the two sides i think...wales want to score tries and set out to create try scoring opportunities.....england are happy to prey on other sides mistakes and take the easy points when they come along...and thats one of the chief reasons why boring england lost today.

    Also some posters appear to have lost their grip on reailty as regards englands non score at the end of the game. The tmo can only award a try in those circumstances if hes sure a try has been scored...and in this case no one can be sure he grounded the ball at all...let alone with sufficient force for a try to be awarded...or are england supporters suggesting that the tmo ian ramage was in welsh pockets too...along with steve walsh apparently.....and to think it was us welsh supporters who used to be accused of being paranoid.....

    As for this 'england getting better' straw thats being clutched at by england supporters.....hmm.....well see....lets see how england do in paris...and then against their regular 6 nations nemesis ireland.....certainly on the evidence of england's performances in this championship so far they've no chance in paris and will certainly be up against it against ireland....a rather odd revival considering last season england won 4 out of 5 and won the 6 nations.......

    while i suspect that poster who apparently wants to see wales suffer a similar calamity to the one they suffered in the world cup semi final is likely to be disappointed.....lightening doesnt strike twice im afraid. Also i can assure that poster that if there is one game welsh players and supporters want to win this year...its against france in march....and the fact that its likely to be a championship and grand slam decider makes it all the more a match we will be determined to win .....believe me france arent going to know whats hit them when they come to wales in march................

  • Comment number 35.

    Well done England: you took on a mighty wales side and almost won. wales though deserved the victory but only for taking their chances (and for playing better with 14 men than 15 !!). An awful lot of good things on show for England and given 12-18 months with the right coach the potential in this squad could well and truly be realized; I'd like to see the RFU stick their neck out now and back Stuart Lancaster ... he's done enough in my book to be given at least the rest of 2012 to show us what more he can do.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ 34; Thank god you're not English ... otherwise you would be labeled arrogant !!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Honestly how can some of you state Wales have been overhyped? Have you been watching us over the past 6/7 months? We are the best team in Europe, by a stretch. Today, England through illegal hands in the ruck, were able to slow down our play the ball, thus stopping our backs from getting any momentum. It was nothing to do with Wales' backs being overhyped, because they are much better than anything Scotland, England and Ireland can produce.

    Wales undoubtedly played poor today, but as they won, then what does that say about England? Wales had more physicality, skill and better fitness levels. I don't think that England are going to get better over the next four years, sure today was a pretty good performance, but they couldn't beat a young Wales side at home who were playing very poor. Their players are not great, and to make excuses like we are young, and developing is rubbish, because Wales are in the same boat, and yet got to the semis of the WC, which if wasn't for poor refereeing would have reached the final possibly to beat the AB's.

  • Comment number 38.

    My tuppence worth...once again we were lucky in many respects (I reckon Strettle grounded it) but showed enough dog to snatch victory when in previous years we may have capitulated eg when going down to 14. The main difference between the teams for me was the use of subs. Wales used 2 as replacements for injury to Roberts and AWJ (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I am wrong on this) but otherwise were confident in the fitness of the starting 15 to play for the full 80. No-one off the pace or over eager to make an impact and even the front row were still on their feet just about at the end.

    Both teams deserve credit for a compelling match - England for the way they read Wales' game plan and more or less nullifying it and Wales for ignoring all the hype and just getting on with playing. The 6 Nationns needs tight games like this where it could go either way right up to the wire. Obviously I would say that as Wales has been on the receiving end of a fair few thrashings over the years!

    Sadly some of my compatriots will already be looking forward to France and the "G...you know what". Talking ourselves up ahead of the England game was perfect motivation for the opposition. I hope pundits, media and fans alike just let the team get on with preparing for the next match against Italy who will surely want to recapture some of the form they showed against England.

    In the meantine Scotland v France tomorrow should be fun. Heart says Scotland by less than a converted try, head says France by 15.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with Pancho86 - What a game. Priestland had his worst game for Wales, but lets not get carried away with that he is class and a lot more to come.

    Even as a welshman it's great to win, the hangovers are not to be desired, but you have to fancy that English side coming good over the next few years, we cannot sit back and expect to dominate anything, especially with the mess that is going on at club level! All our players leaving and the grass roots are not looking good, we've had a champagne crop of players coming through but the Osprey's/Scarlets/Blues etc are going to start getting hammered week in and week out soon which doesn't breed superstars at all.

    Warburton - mustard. Nuff said. Now we can all see why he is the youngest ever WC captain. What a performance and no better man to life that trophy. Until last night I still felt a little bad for Ryan Jones but that has been wiped from my mind now. Super player and super captain.

    Well without sounding like an arse I think we could out the reserves out against Italy. Points would be a good thing though as you never know what Le Bleu will bring. We owe them one from the WC but that could also be our undoing. Though I think Ireland will give them a damn good run for their money.

    If we win the slam, I must say out of the 3 this would be the one that we scraped. As we were lucky in Dublin and could well have come off worse last night. If we win the next 2 well that will be forgotten, but we do get carried away at home, we got to keep working hard and sort out our club rugby or this will be short-lived.

    WALES

  • Comment number 40.

    Big day for Wales today, Scotland for some reason always give France a real headache, if the Scots beat France you know the French wont have the stomach for it in Cardiff if there's nothing to play for. COME ON SCOTLAND!

  • Comment number 41.

    *33 Joe. Oh dear, I think you need a re-think. England were the better team - watch the replay mate - which you wont do as you are a sore loser. Get used to it, we had an off day and still won. Going to happen for a while mate. Look forward to your blogging next year when you really get your backsides handed to you on a plate in Cardiff.

  • Comment number 42.

    *31 - Underthebridge - you are correct

  • Comment number 43.

    First off what a fantastic game of rugby and not meaning to sound arrogant but thus far all 3 of the welsh games have been superb to watch.

    Secondly I expected England to up their game but not like they did today. Some superb phases of play and brilliant defensive work.

    I'll admit as a welshman I didnt think this would be an easy game for Wales but honestly didnt think there would be this kind of contest on offer. Even though the game is done and dusted there were several points I took from both teams and well obviously certain players.

    Something I dont think anyone has mentioned so far is that in the opening 20 minutes I felt England coped well with the pressure from Wales but in all honesty I believe had Halfpenny put his first kick over the game may have well been a different game. After that some good play by England allowed them to capitalize on their first attack which after being pinned down for 20 mins or so and not conceeding must have lifted their spirits, for me this was vitally important.

    Anyways, some key players for England who for me were exceptional, Ben Morgan was outstanding, Botha was also superb, Farrell was for me England's best player and looked right at home at 10, Tuilagi definetely made a huge difference to the physicality whereas Barrett was yet again immense in defense. Im not keen on Dickson and although he held Phillips up several times felt he was fortunate not to be penalised since he always seemed to be offside, but that is a sign of a good 9.

    Onto Wales, Preistland for me had a shocker, his out of hand kicking was dreadful and 3 penalties did not reach touch which was vital for pressure and field position which obviously go hand in hand, this really allowed England to keep Wales pinned back, although that sounds easier said than done which is a credit to the English defense. Had he not aimed for distance and just concentrated on getting the ball into touch I feel Wales may have been able to create more and personally i feel would have been able to threaten the English line more in their own half, after all defending inside your own 22 is a far greater ask than defending from your oppositions 22.

    Warburton for me deservedly the man of the match as his work rate was immense and his general ability to be a complete and utter nuisance which is the sign of a good 7.

    I was pleased to see 3-3 during the yellow card period and as most have said we played better with 14 men than we did with 15 which is good but a little odd at the same

  • Comment number 44.

    Welsh people, relax, you won. It's OK, we get it, this is the best team ever in the history of the Six Nations. No need to keep up the anti-English vitriol now.

    Great game, think England blew it bringing on Youngs and Stevens, as Wales were looking short of ideas with the pace of Dickson's game. If Wales had a scrum-half like that, Priestland wouldn't have spent so much time on his backside with a sore head. Phillips won't make Lions squad, too slow and teams have worked him out.

    Wales need a Plan B if they're going to beat the SH teams, they won't get out of jail or be able to play themselves back in through subs mistakes all the time, England need to think about their bench.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just for the record.

    Sat in an Irish bar last night in Cambodia and a table of Irish fans mocking the Welsh and supporting England (this is by NO means a go at the English). Disgusting. We have supported the Scots and the Irish since the beginning of time due to our celtic blood against England & France for that matter. I know the past decade relations between us has soured due to the fact the Irish (actually think) they have a good side. We lost home and away to them for years we now win 3 in a row and this! They can kiss my support for them for good end of. When O'driscoll and o'connell retire it will be o-NO! night night.

    Really looking forward to getting them in Cardiff next year and in fact even though most Welsh wont agree - beating them more than anyone else. Relations are soured and OVER - just when we have a really good side, now they can reap what the have sown!

  • Comment number 46.

    Many people saying that there are lots of positives for both sides. I'm not so sure. There was lots of physical bluster and a couple of chips ahead. Not much creativity or skill on show. Two very average forward packs, who basically matched each other.

    Where are the "great" players on either side? Is there anyone out there who seriously thinks that NZ, Aus or SA will be worried because these teams are so physical.

    Wales seem to have built a team around the idea of the crash ball, which made them look pretty impotent when met with equal force. England seem to be copying them.

  • Comment number 47.

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!! Come on WALES!!!
    What can I say, WALES are truly a world class side, we didn't turn up, Rhys had a mare, beating england on there own doorstep,, down to 14 men and win 3-0 in that 10 minutes, missed opportunitys and we still WIN against I must say a much improved england side.
    Positives for england, I thought manu made a big difference and to be fare you needed him against such a huge outfit, and farrel I thought played awsome, real vision and he's made the number 10 jersey his own for england that is not sarries.
    Don't be down england your not as far away as you may think? you took a world class side close "not playing well" with a relativley unexperenced side...
    WALES WALES WALES

  • Comment number 48.

    @ Jacetheace #41

    "England were the better team - watch the replay mate - which you wont do as you are a sore loser. Get used to it, we had an off day and still won."

    You think Wales were the better team but then go on to say they had an off day? Well which is it? Because certainly Wales didn't play particularly well today and England played pretty well. We certainly passed the ball better. I thought Wales were pretty poor first half and played OK for about 20mins in the second.

    England were definitely the better team.

    And it was a try.

  • Comment number 49.

    I agree liver paul but you still lost! worring! my biggest concern for england is you cant score try's???
    The whole point of slow mo is so you can see if it's a try or not and it was not. Wales didn't turn up and england did the homework but still lost.

  • Comment number 50.

    First, Much had been said of the BBC bias towards Wales rugby content. Well this article by Tom Fordice concentrates approx 90% on the LOOSING side ENGLAND. ..."Which England player did this", "which England player did that", "what this England coach said" etc etc,... and approx 10% on the WINNING side WALES.
    The blogs are mainly by English armchair supporters crying in their beer, and happy that they did not get the flogging that some of their silly Welsh similar counterparts predicted.
    The facts:
    - Wales beat England 19 -12.
    - Wales won the Tripple Crown.
    - England couldn't take advantage, not 1 point, of playing agaist 14 men.
    - England lost on their home ground.
    - Average age of BOTH teams = 25 years (So cut out the bull of a "Young England side").
    - England still to play France and Ireland.
    - Wales still to play Italy and France
    - and nobody can for certain predict any of these results (If you can, then what are you wasting your time writting here).
    Today a time for England to cry, a time for Wales to celibrate. Tomorrow, nobody knows - and that's what makes Rugby so great.

  • Comment number 51.

    Loving all the English fans saying it was a try at the end... thank goodness the games are officiated by neutral referees. I am sure the English fans would also say that the disallowed Scottish try against them was also a 100% correct decisions. Get over the sour grapes we dont need another Dave Stretle comment about poor referees, but lets not talk about Dickson taking an age each time to get the ball out or the hands slowing down the ball, because from an English point of view that would be perfectly fine. I am sure France will be very "Lucky" when they smash you in Paris next up...

  • Comment number 52.

    Thought it was a good game yesterday with Wales doing what they havent been able to do which is play relatively poorly and win. England played very well and imo come next seasons 6 nations i think they will be a real threat, lets hope lancaster gets the job full time.

    One more thing, no matter what certain people on here think, fact is the TMO decided that Strettle did not score a try, although slightly confused as to why steve walsh did not bring them back for the penalty. Must have decided that england had the perfect oppurtunity to score but just came up short.

    Well done to both teams and good luck to wales for the rest of the tournament.

  • Comment number 53.

    @ Dragonsday and Roy Jones - WALES WALES WALES!!

    Enjoy the triple crown gentlemen!

    WALES WALES WALES

  • Comment number 54.

    Happy to take a win on the back of a lacklustre performance, Priestland had his worst game in a Welsh shirt but Gatland made a good call in keeping him on, he'll learn from it.

    Credit to England for a sterling defensive effort, they are moving in the right direction.

  • Comment number 55.

    Well played both sides, super game of rugby played in the right spirit, perhaps a draw would have been a fair result as they were so evenly matched but one piece of individual brilliance proved to be the difference.

    England's selection was completely vindicated - Dickson, Farrell, Parling and Morgan all having good games - Youngs, Lawes, Dowson, Stevens all poor or ineffective when they came on.

    I thought England were just beginning to gain the upper hand midway through the second half, but two things turned the game in Wales favour - the confidence and belief they gained from the way they played when Priestland was in the sin-bin and the introduction of the English substitutes.

    I think England now have a pretty obvious starting XV going forward - to me the only question marks being Ashton and the desperate need for a quality 7 - Warburton as expected was superb and the stand-out player on the pitch.

    I don't think Wales played poorly as some of their supporters are claiming to try and justify why they did not beat us easily - England had an excellent game plan which simply nullified them. And finally, while Strettle should have scored anyway, my first instinct was a try and in the days before the TMO it would have been awarded. The try wasn't awarded because the ball wasn't grounded - it was because the replays were inconclusive - in such cases maybe the decision is then passed back to the ref? He and the touch judge were both perfectly positioned and perhaps they should have decided between them based on their first instincts. Not sour grapes, as the conversion would have been a big ask anywy, but just a general thought ...

  • Comment number 56.

    Agree about the substitutions ... Wales only made subs for injuries but England subbed players having a good game (except for Farrell who had cramp). The replacements didn't impress and possibly this turned the game in Wales' favour.

    Both sides were immense in defense (and both cheated as much as each other - not the players fault that Steve Walsh doesn't understand how to police the breakdown; he was consistently bad for both sides and you play the ref).

    The other thing that stood out for me was Wales' dominance in the scrum and maul. England committed to a rolling maul on three occasions and each time it went backwards & I can't remember the last time I saw that.

    Finally, the most impressive thing about Wales was the way they kept going and kept believing. Once Wales got back to 12-12, there was no doubt in my mind that Wales would win ... and that is the mark of a potentially very good side.

  • Comment number 57.

    Excellent game of Rugby. Well done England , fine effort against a mighty Wales side that should of (and deserved to be) in the world Cup Final. Lots of possitives for england, got every chance against Ireland , as Wales are far superior to them and we gave them a good run for their money.

    As for the try , oh well , no way it could be given , conversion unlikely anyway. So well down Wales , go on and get that Grand Slam now.

  • Comment number 58.

    I would like to understand why George North was not at least penalised for deliberately tapping the ball out of play after Flood's chip kick to Strettle. He clearly stopped a clear try scoring opportunity by deliberately tapping the ball out of play. Right in front of the Touch Judge yet nothing was given when IMO a penalty try was an option to the officials

  • Comment number 59.

    this is making me LMAO ! Try no try !! haha, downward pressure when grounding the ball and under control, his hand was under the ball not over, and as far as going back for advantage walsh asked the tmo if time was up when he crossed the line, which it was, ball dead, game over, england lose !! so obviously they were the better side, love it !

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 49

    England did lose. Quite right. And there is no glory in playing well and losing. I would rather have played poorly like Wales and won than played like Wales in the WC and lost (which is what we did today).

    It was a great piece of play by Williams that finally turned the game. you say England can't score tries, but in my mind, they scored a perfectly legitimate try. it got overruled and thats the margins between winning and losing. Fair play to Wales for grinding out a result.

    Here's to next year with both teams hopefully progressing further.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    Where's the welsh numpty who said England would get smashed, Farrell's career would be ended and they'd win by 20???

    They got stopped in their tracks, pinged for foul play and Roberts was run over all day.
    Should have been done for continually binding on the arm (in front of the won't make a decision touch judges......including the try grounding), and going off their feet.

    Oh yeah, wales are sooo far ahead in development! One "get out of gaol card" used.

    Well done England!

  • Comment number 63.

    @No13 Davidbackhim.
    I completely disregard your comments "not a shadow of the welsh grand slam winning team of the 70's" rugby is a completely different game now than it was then. You seem quite bitter about the fact Wales won the triple crown at Twickers (YESSSSSSS!!!). You also mention "dubious" decisions and say "you cannot keep winning narrowly, you will get found out". Utter nonsense. Wales have recently turned close defeats into close wins, thats a huge positive. Now, back to "dubious decisions" I'm guessing its a veiled dig at Englands non-try at the end that was clearly inconclusive. Also, the game I watched yesterday was poorly refereed by Walsh who at times seemed hell bent on giving poor penalty decisions against Wales at the drop of a hat. The only thing you say that i'm in agreement with is your opinion on the Welsh defence. One word......Awesome. All in all, a deserved win against a determined England side, and a great game to watch.

  • Comment number 64.

    Why has nobody mentioned that Chris Robshaw should have been off for most of the last ten minutes for clearly taking Warburton out in the air (68 mins). Walsh even saw it and gave a penalty but did not sin bin him. I thought that Walsh was terrible all through the match- so inconsistent. England fans will complain that he gave lots of decisions against them, however just as many went against Wales- handling in the rucks, offside at scrum (both Youngs and Dickson) etc.

  • Comment number 65.

    @62lookslikeacolonnoalchiponyourshoulder.
    As you England fans have been saying recently "a wins a win". Im Welsh, and agree it wasn't Wales best performance, although defensively we were awesome. But as you guys say, a wins a win, we'll take it just like you took the terrible wins against Scotland and Italy. I didn't see any grounded ball at the end either, it was held up and was clearly inconclusive. Triple crown at twickers, very, very satisfying.

  • Comment number 66.

    Need to look at this from two aspects--the game itself and the long term view. As for the game everybody(including me) was expecting Wales to win by a mile.England played a lot better than expected and pushed them all the way.No question Wales had the final edge and will now go on to win the Grand Slam.
    English supporters should focus more on the long term--ie the next World Cup. We have come an enormous way since the fiasco in NZ and Lancaster and his team must take a great deal of credit for that. The defeat yesterday is a part of the learning process and is not the end of the world.The big plus so far is that I think the team is playing with more structure and confidence. I put that down to Lancaster and i think we are on the right track. No doubt in mind that he should be given the job full time-provided that Rob Andrew has nothing to do with the appointment process.

  • Comment number 67.

    At #61 you mention #45 as being a chippy druid but fail to understand that as a celtic nation we do as a rule tend to stick together, and you very much let yourself down by sayng that Wales is not a nation "bless you" this is a rugy blog not geography! and just for the record Wales was a nation before england even existed!!! there you go were onto history now!!! wanna talk about astrophysics ??? imbecile!!!

    willwill, thanks for your comments and I thought you made a very good point on Dickson slowing down the ball! no one winging about that hey? and also pulling down in the lineout, how the hell didn't england get a red for that????

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't think that we should be dwelling on the tmo's decision. Given the way Walsh asked the question, the right decision was given.

    I still don't see how people can use the evidence of today to continue bemoaning our back row. We matched the Welsh in that department today and any criticism appears odd. Although I would prefer Wood on the bench to Dowson.

  • Comment number 69.

    England tried to stop the Welsh backs gaining momentum by coming up early and fast in defence, and it worked. To their credit Wales adapted with a couple of chipped kicks through the onrushing line, and that's what good teams need to do - find another way.

    The story of the match is that England were the best they've been for a year and Wales the worst, but Wales still won. England have a long, long way to go. Wales, with a young side bursting with ability and confidence, might just be able to go a long, long way further.

  • Comment number 70.

    Another exciting Welsh game - that's 3 in a row - with plenty of material for their perennial detractors to latch on to explain why they were lucky to win. Some people prefer to focus on negatives, what ifs and if onlys to justify their point of view, however jaundiced that often appears in print. Similarly, cast iron predictions of wins in the next game, in 1 month or next year are equally irrational but I suppose we all have to bear these lunatics whilst the rest of us try to enjoy reasoned discussion.

    It is hard to look at things dispassionately.

    Strettle's non-try is a perfect example. When it happened, I was sure it was a try. It had to be. Then the replays, which were screened over and over for almost 5 minutes showed that the ball almost certainly hadn't been placed down. At least, that is what the impartial TMO thought. Those of us who are partial, i.e. nearly every single one of us, has their own differing view. Curiously, most Welsh supporters think it was not touched down and most English supporters think it was. Who would have thought?

    The fact of the matter is, it wasn't awarded so it wasn't a try.

    I'm a Wales supporter but, funnily enough, I wanted it to be awarded even though I couldn't see it having been touched down. Then it would have come down to a very, very difficult conversion to draw the match. I thought Flood would have fluffed that kick and then we could have won a very tight game without the inevitable 'we was robbed' chorus which we witness here. It was the same after the Ireland game and is becoming rather boring.

    Having said all that, England were very good yesterday and a draw, whilst not a satisfactory result, wouldn't have been an undeserved one.

  • Comment number 71.

    @61Shack31
    "Wales only qualify for the Six Nations in a purely abstract sense as they are not really a nation at all"
    If thats not a seriously bitter Englishman, I don't know what is. The Welsh, and celts in general were here long before you guys lol. Anyway, back to rugby, you need to swallow the bitter pill and accept you lost against a Wales side that defended staunchly, but didn't play to the best of there ability..........CYMRU AM BYTH!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    @67 I think you'll find Phillips was also taking an age to get the ball out when it suited him. They were both playing to the ref. Deal with it. And as regards the line out penalty, yes it's a dangerous as a tip tackle but I haven't seen refs give cards for it, which needs looking at. So it isn't really a case of England "getting away with it"

  • Comment number 73.

    I must say after reading the posts by English supporters, I am staggered how you can say he has 'quick delivery.' I thought I'd give you just a few examples of this 'quick delivery. (at 39 mins) for example.

  • Comment number 74.

    #72 Match facts DICKson 40 seconds Phillips 20 seconds, go figure. You lost so I think it's you that needs to deal with it.

    But I do agree I haven't seen ref's giving cards for it either but it is as dangerous as a tip tackle and needs looking at.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'd like to raise a few points if I may as many people seem to have missed most of the real incidents. As an England supporter I will say that the decision not to award the try was the correct one. I could not hear what Steve Walsh said to the TMO whether it was "try or no try" or "any reason I cannot award the try" but the truth is it was inconclusive.

    Firstly in reply to 67 The DRAGONS DAY - the question should be why did the Wales lifters not get reds?? They through him up in the air and let go of him they did not just lift him.. Honestly, have a look at the replay.

    Next -Why did the wales winger not get a yellow card for deliberately palming the ball into touch about 3 minutes before the end when chasing with strettle, it should, dare I say, even have been a penalty try.

    Also I have seen many comments regarding england as boring, which game were you watching. Wales seemed intent on just using their big backs as extra forwards and boshing it up the middle, other than the moment of brilliance for the try and george North in the first minute what else did you actually create??

    In summary, a draw would have been a fair result, but hats off to Wales, as we said after the first two games, its all about winning.

  • Comment number 76.

    Give Lancaster the job. He's taken a bunch of youngsters (was it 180 caps approx. between them) and put some pride back into the rose.

    He's learning, they're learning and together they'll develop the experience needed at the highest level.

    More importantly the players want to play for him and they have shown how much it means to pull on an England shirt.

    Come on RFU, give him a chance...

  • Comment number 77.

    Farrell looked like the real deal whilst Priestland wobbled.
    Stevens went from hero to zero in 2 breakdowns - he turned over 1 ball brilliantly and then gave away the equalising penalty trying to do it again.
    Lawes wasn't to blame for losing the ball to Williams - his lack of support was to blame.
    Tuilagi was very good but, coming back from injury, looks to be a little unfit - he faded out of the game.
    Morgan looked good too but faded earlier and more than Tuilagi.
    Does Barritt do attack? He certainly has mastered defence!
    It would be nice to see Hartley onside occasionally, but he got away with it from his countryman with the whistle.

    (Should England try the Poland thing to up their fitness levels?)

    Warburton richly deserves his accolades.
    Props Jones and Jenkins made their presence felt.
    Halfpenny was the best back yesterday, closely followed by Tuilagi or possibly North.
    Was Cuthbert playing?
    Phillips does need to speed up his delivery but 1 bad game does not make him a bad player.

    Finally, could I ask that England and Ireland both soften up France as much as they can before they come to Cardiff please?

  • Comment number 78.

    #61, Shake61, Sorry your wrong on two counts.
    1- Wales, whilst not being a Kingdom - as in United Kingdom, is a "principality", and hence is a nation.
    2- In the contex of rugby union, Ireland is not one nation, but are two nations, Northen Ireland and Eire, the Republic of Ireland. (Another great tribute to Rugby Union)

    Now tell us, between your tearful bad looser blabbings, do you know anything about Rugby Union?

  • Comment number 79.

    59. At 07:29 26th Feb 2012, gooner_in_dubai wrote:
    "this is making me LMAO ! Try no try !! haha, downward pressure when grounding the ball and under control, his hand was under the ball not over, and as far as going back for advantage walsh asked the tmo if time was up when he crossed the line, which it was, ball dead, game over, england lose !! so obviously they were the better side, love it !"

    Gooner in dubai, perhaps you should try to understand the rules of the game before posting rubbish. The game cannot end on a penalty, so unless Walsh called advantage over, the correct decision was to go back for the penalty.

    Despite one poster claiming it was 3 minutes, the gap between England being awarded a penalty, and Strettle going over was about 30s, almost all of which was behind the gain line. Had it been a scrum advantage then fair enough, but a bit short for a penalty advantage.
    Of course advantage is always down to interpretation, but it would be interesting to know whether the ref called advantage over.

  • Comment number 80.

    Priestaland didn't have a very good game which obviously reflected on the Welsh performance.

    Scott Williams' 'assassin try' atoned for the glaring error he made a few minutes beforehand when he completely forgot about North heading for the tryline. The two incidents occured after Priestland started to find some rythym.

    A much improved performance from England and hopefully they will get better as a unit. As for Wales, they can only get better as well.

    Ryan Jones coming on as a sub made a huge impact (as did Scott Williams).

    One aspect of the game that French commentators picked up was the English throw-in at the lineout - they reckon that half of the Englsih throws were not straight (it's not easily identiable in the TV shots) and should have been signalled by the touch judges.

  • Comment number 81.

    steve 65,

    Wasn't wales best performance! Stopped in you tracks you mean, and had to be defensively awesome as you were behind on the scoreboard all day and never looked like crossing. No palming the ball away or collapsing the maul on your own line from England.

    One get out of gaol card alright.

    By the way, ask Roberts if he got the number of that truck that ran him over!

  • Comment number 82.

    #45, what is all this "we have celtic blood" rubbish, and how disgraceful that Irish fans might actually chose who to support rather than bowing down before all conquering Wales - the level of arrogance in your post beggars belief.

    Firstly I would assume that the Irish fans were chearing on England, since an England win would have given them a better shot at winnng the 6N. The sense of injustice at a dodgy last second penalty, plus the attempt to put one of the Irish players in a wheelchair might have something to do with it.

    The fact is that rivalries change constantly anyway - in the 70s there was a respect between Ireland and England because England were the only team who didn't refuse to play in Ireland due to the troubles.

  • Comment number 83.

    The Strettle score should have been given. neither of the 2 angles that were used in the replays was clear but one showed the ball was grounded and the other showed that if the ball was grounded it could only be over the line. A draw would have been the right result in many ways but England did have Wales on the rack earlier on and lacked the wit and composure to take full advantage after doing so many things right

  • Comment number 84.

    #75 Thankyou you have made some very good points, I have watched the game back and will continue to watch again and again, ha, but you are correct the Welsh players did let him go, fine, but it was an english players hand on his sholder that tipped him over thus causing him to fall awkwardly! had he not the Welsh player would of landed on his feet.

  • Comment number 85.

    I don't understand the tactical advantage of kicking the ball back down the centre of the field giving the opposition the ball back. It nearly lost Wales the game. All the teams are doing it.

  • Comment number 86.

    #29 wrote
    I just wanted to add the fact that if we were picking the lions team tomorrow then there wouldn't be 1 English player in the starting 15.

    1 Jenkins or Healy
    2 Best or Rees
    3 Ad Jones
    4 Gray
    5 AW Jones/ Chartaris
    6 O'brien/ Lydiate
    7 warburton
    8 Faletau/ Heaslip
    9 Murray or Phillips
    10 Sexton
    11 North
    12 Roberts
    13 O'driscoll
    14 halfpenny
    15 kearney

    16 Best/Rees
    17 Healy/ Jenkins
    18 Aw Jones/ Chartaris
    19 Ferris/ Heaslip/ Faletau
    20 Phillips/ Murrary
    21 Hook/ Prestland
    22 Earls/ Bowe

    Spot the Welsh bias.

    1. Gethin will go but so will Corbs who again played well. As I have already posted Adam Jones edged him in the scrum but also continually illegal bound on arm which made it easy
    2. Rees is injured so not possible to judge. On 6N form Best and Hartley will go
    3. Adam Jones and Ross will go but Cole has improved massively in loose
    4/5 POC and Grey. Charteris is injured and AWJ was outplayed yesterday by the English locks who at start of season would not have even been 3rd choice for England
    6/7/8 Warburton, Denton Ferris. Heaslip and Croft (yes cos of line out) as back up
    9 Phillips - you are having a laugh, he was outplayed yesterday by a newbe.

    In the lions squad the following England players will be in: Corbs, Lawes, Croft, Farrell, Manu, Ashton and Foden. For Wales the following players will probably not make the squad: Cuthbert, Phillips, Lydiate (very good but there are better choices), AWJ, Charteris, M Rees (or indeed any Welsh hooker)

  • Comment number 87.

    @72 I'm not arguing that Dickson did it more often but simply stating that when it suited Phillips to take an age, he did. The Botha charge down for example. Personally I would like refs to be much quicker in saying the ball is out to get the game moving.

    @75 Walsh asked try or no try. Which brings me on to a general bug bear with regards to the tmo. Why have the option to ask two different questions? Had Walsh asked any reason I cannot award the try then it would probably have been given. I would prefer if the tmo was just given carte Blanche to look at anything with any referral.

  • Comment number 88.

    Very entertaining game,tremendous defensive displays from both teams. Can't help but be hugely amused by the vitriol still spouted by some of the Welsh contingent on here, you won, what more do you want?

    No point in crying over spilled milk re:Strettle "try" it was'nt given, end of. England can take a lot of + points from the game, but please get rid of Stevens and Youngs.

  • Comment number 89.

    Regarding all the people complaining about the Enlgand no-try not going back for the penalty, might I remind them what happened when Laidlaw's try wasn't given against England 3 weeks ago?

    What goes around...

  • Comment number 90.

    #81 What game was you watching??? ask Roberts what truck hit him? why not ask Farrel or Botha, if Roberts hit a truck they hit a juggernaut!!!

    And your correct it wasn't our best performance but guess what? we WON! That's what world class NATIONS do is win even when were not playing well.

    No try no excuses...........

  • Comment number 91.

    #59 Except in this situation downward pressure isn't required. Now I'll admit I didn't know this until last night after the fact as I was actually looking for what would qualify for downward pressure in the laws. Anyway there are two ways you can qualify grounding of the ball this is word for word what it says on the IRB website lawbook.

    ‎(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

    Now the pictures clearly shown to the TMO don't conclusively prove that Strettle touched the ball on the ground in-goal. However after the game some replays clearly showed this happen.

    So essentially England were not awarded a try by a) Not all the pictures being available for the TMO, b) If Walsh asked the question "Is there any reason I can't award the try" the decision would of gone the other way. I think the right decision at the time was made based on the evidence available however I do think since then it's quite clear Strettle grounded the ball.

    Also as Tom pointed out there's still the equation of Flood's conversion attempt in the if/buts/whys/maybes. So yeah England lost can't really complain but saying Strettle didn't ground it is a little unfair to say.

  • Comment number 92.

    BBC or Tom Fordyce


    Could we have a 'Like' and 'Unlike' button for posts like there is on Facebook?

  • Comment number 93.

    The best game of 6nations rugby I've seen for a while. Agreed, I don't watch everything, all the time, I have a life, too. Both teams going for it hammer and tongs and even the kitchen sink and all the attached plumbing was thrown. No complaints about the result. Would I loved to have seen England win? Of course, but that's by the by. When down to 14, Wales did what they had to do, kept the ball tight, for the most part. England didn't have the nouse and weren't cute enough to exploit the situation then, or toward the end, when nursing a slight lead. That said, I thought England did really well and I doubt very much that anyone would've foreseen the score after one hour or the way in which the game was played.

    I'm not one to have a go at officials per se, but there were some calls made that confused me. Is there a case for having more NH refs at 6nations? Purely so's they interpret rules, more or less, the way the players play by. I've got nothing against
    Walsh, except that he could have shaved for the occasion.

    I thought the England replacements came on almost like clockwork and, certainly in the case of Dickson/Youngs, was not needed. Youngs had a shocker and does not appear, at least to me, that he learns from all the other shockers he has.

    Once all is said and done, a great game of rugby and 2 hours off from painting the kid's bedroom.

  • Comment number 94.

    "That's what world class nations do is win even when were not playing well." Tee hee. @ thedragonsday is a little deluded methinks. Allez France (and any of the Southern Hemisphere Teams)!

  • Comment number 95.

    Yawn...England's best 3 players? Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda...

    Coulda still be playing now and they wouldn't have scored - never really troubled our line..

    Woulda been down to 14 for the terrible tip tackle - and we know what Wales do with the man advantage

    Shoulda destroyed 14 man Wales who lost a key man to injury at the same moment

    Sad that this is seen as progress - how the mighty England have fallen

  • Comment number 96.

    My thoughts:-

    - Great game of rugby
    - Wales are not as good as people think they are
    - Such a shame Farrell got injuried
    - Warburton is truely world class. Lions Captain 100%
    - It was a try however the chances of Flood kicking it under that amount of pressure were pretty much nil.
    - Farrell would have.

  • Comment number 97.

    #87 bizzy kai cho yes good point, I think Jerry Guscot mentioned in commentary afterwards that the ref should make a decision and say play the ball to avoid time waisting, "on both sides".
    Also the questions asked to the TMO drives me mad! depending on the question the ref asks makes a big difference on the outcome, I've lost count of how many tries Wales have had dissalowed because of the question...

  • Comment number 98.

    Wales will only become a great side when they bite the bullet and play a scrum half with quick hands to release this once in a lifetime set of backs who will tear any defence apart. Alos think the more he Priestland plays the worse he is getting ??

  • Comment number 99.

    #25 No - it wasn't a try. End of. That's why it ended 12-19, not 17-19 or 19-all. Get over it. At full speed (i.e. "live" and from the in-goal area) I thought it looked good, but from all other angles it was inconclusive - and as the question asked was "try - yes or no" I think the TMO has to have proof of a try being scored. No different than during normal play when an inconclusive result would end with an attacking scrum, 5m out.

    England were far better than I ever imagined, Wales didn't play to anything like potential and the form book. But if we went on reputation and the like then the All Blacks would never reliquish the Webb Ellis Trophy. England have a lot to look forward to, either with Lancaster or the less RFU old farts-friendly Nick Mallet steering the ship. Hell, they may even get some players into the Lions at this rate, not something many people would have said on Saturday morning! Going to be tought against France, but they'll on the back of 3 matches in 3 weekends, so for them it's a matter of keeping injury-free before a potential GS decider. Add the small matter of unfinished business from the World Cup and Cardiff will be buzzing...

  • Comment number 100.

    Wales are also a work in progress when one considers the age of their squad and more so in the backline.

    A little more guile and thinking is needed as a whole in the Six Nations rather than sheer power all the time. That can create as many chances as a bulldozing run up the middle.

    Strange that Wales dropped their initial gameplan in which they were securing phase after phase of posession with ease. Nonetheless great character to come back from the proverbial dead in the shape of another youngster.

    Rather disturbing to see elements of chavball start to creep into rugby recently. Backchat to the referee as with Parisse, audible swearing and moaning about the referees decisions as with Strettle after the match.

    We don't need that in this glorious game.

    Wales should beat Italy but in order to win a Grand Slam they must up their game against the French.And after last years semi final heartache though they may not say it publicly, revenge will be an operative word.

 

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