Six Nations 2013: Wales 30-3 England

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer at the Millennium Stadium
Six Nations 2013 highlights: Wales 30-3 England

Wales stormed to the Six Nations title as they secured a record win over England and crushed the visitors' Grand Slam hopes in the process.

Two second-half tries from winger Alex Cuthbert, four penalties from Leigh Halfpenny and eight points from Dan Biggar's boot were a fitting reflection of what became a romp.

Wales needed a winning margin of at least seven points to snatch the title from their visitors' grasp, and led by only six at the interval.

But they steamrollered an overwhelmed England side in the second half and ran away with the match as the capacity crowd celebrated wildly.

England seldom benefited from the decisions of referee Steve Walsh but were second best from the first minute as they fell to a first away defeat in the Six Nations under coach Stuart Lancaster.

It represents a remarkable turnaround for Wales, who had lost their last five matches in Cardiff and been dismantled by Ireland in the first half of their last fixture here.

But four successive victories - this last one the best of the lot - mean they top the table for a second season in succession.

In an atmosphere so ferocious it could have re-started a stopped heart, Halfpenny gave the home side the lead with his first three points after Joe Marler was penalised for not rolling away.

Wales were more composed in the initial storm, with England spilling the possession they had and giving away a flurry of penalties in defence.

The relentlessly reliable Halfpenny made it 6-0 before Farrell's first attempt hit the right-hand upright and fell over the crossbar, but when Walsh ruled against England at a messy scrum the Wales full-back stroked over another penalty from 30m to restore the six-point margin.

When England finally got to work deep in Welsh territory, Ben Youngs' reckless pass was picked off by Biggar, and only a brilliant tap-tackle from England left winger Brown stopped George North from racing away into the vast empty spaces for a certain try.

Brown ran onto a nicely judged grubber from Farrell on the left only for his attempted inside pass to be intercepted, and Farrell then opted to kick deep when a turnover offered a tantalising glimpse of an overlap on the right.

With Biggar pulling a drop-goal wide on the stroke of half-time, Stuart Lancaster's men were closer on the scoreboard than they had been on the pitch.

But the problems at the scrum continued as the minutes ticked on, the red majority in the 74,104-strong crowd roaring their approval as Walsh repeatedly found against the men in white.

Doughty defence from England somehow kept Wales at bay as they went through 23 phases right on the try line, and Halfpenny made it 12-3 after another transgression.

Lancaster threw on the replacements, with Mako Vunipola coming on for Joe Marler, Courtney Lawes for Joe Launchbury and Dylan Hartley for Tom Youngs.

It added to the effort but did little to hone a cutting edge.

With 25 minutes left, the roof almost came off the Millennium Stadium. England were turned over again on half-way, the ball was spread quickly to Cuthbert and the right winger dashed clear of Brown to dive over in the corner.

Halfpenny just missed the conversion from the touchline but Wales were in control, their back-row forwards in the ascendancy and their backs starting to fly.

The impressive Sam Warburton accelerated off the base of a ruck, brushed through Danny Care's tackle and found the galloping Justin Tipuric, who drew the last man before putting Cuthbert over in the corner again.

Biggar drilled over the conversion to make it 27-3 and, as the crowd bellowed "Easy! Easy!", popped over another penalty to complete what was a thrashing.

It was a chastening finale for an England team who had begun knowing a win would give them the Triple Crown, Championship and a first Grand Slam in a decade.

Far less experienced - 10 of their starting line-up had never before played at this great stadium - and out-fought both physically and mentally, they looked shell-shocked by the end as Wales and their capital city kicked off a huge night of celebrations.

Team line-ups

Wales: Halfpenny; Cuthbert, Davies, Roberts, North; Biggar, Phillips; Jenkins, Hibbard, A Jones, AW Jones, Evans, Warburton, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Shingler for Roberts (75), Hook for Biggar (75), L Williams for Phillips (75), James for Jenkins (61), Owens for Hibbard (52), Coombs for Evans (70), S Williams for Warburton (75).

Not Used: Andrews.

England: Goode; Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Brown; Farrell, B Youngs; Marler, T Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Croft, Robshaw, Wood.

Replacements: Twelvetrees for Goode (64), Flood for Farrell (67), Care for B. Youngs (64), Vunipola for Marler (44), Hartley for T. Youngs (52), Wilson for Cole (72), Lawes for Launchbury (52), Haskell for Wood (67).

Att: 74,104

Ref: Steve Walsh (Australia).


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