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avenging a painful defeat to its fiercest rival on its last trip to the Millennium Stadium.

Started by hehe2, 2015/02/06 10:02PM
Latest post: 2015/02/06 10:02PM, Views: 787, Posts: 1
avenging a painful defeat to its fiercest rival on its last trip to th...
#1   2015/02/06 10:02PM
England fought back from 10-0 down after nine minutes to beat Wales 21-16 in the opening game of the Six Nations on Friday, avenging a painful defeat to its fiercest rival on its last trip to the Millennium Stadium.

Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph scored tries for the English, who kept Wales scoreless in the second half after going into halftime 16-8 behind. Flyhalf George Ford kicked 11 points, putting England in the lead for the first time with his second of three penalties in the 62nd.

While England arrived in Cardiff with an injury-hit squad, Wales had the luxury of a full-strength lineup but barely threatened as an attacking force after racing into the lead through Leigh Halfpenny's penalty and scrumhalf Rhys Webb's converted try.

The result should give England a huge psychological lift ahead of its next meeting with the Welsh " in the World Cup group stage on Sept. 26. England will be at home that day, and will hope to have more of its top players available, including star center Manu Tuilagi and locks Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury.

In the short term, the bragging rights belong on the English side of the Severn Bridge and England coach Stuart Lancaster savored a seminal win in his reign, with his callow side " with 290 caps fewer than the Welsh " winning the crucial scrum battle and dominating the breakdown.

England captain Chris Robshaw made 23 tackles.

"To go 10-0 down against a side as good as Wales is a big hole," Lancaster said. "But I don't think we chased the game. We held our nerve."

England botched a number of great try-scoring chances late on " one when the superb James Haskell crashed into the padded post " that would have made the margin of victory humiliating for Wales on its own turf.

What a reversal from two years ago, when England was humbled 30-3 here in a Six Nations decider. The Welsh fed off a fevered atmosphere under the closed roof of one of the great arenas in world rugby that day to inflict a record win over its biggest foe.

This time, the roof was open and Wales couldn't maintain its intensity after making a breathless start.

"You've got to give England credit," Wales captain Sam Warburton said. "They outplayed us in the second half and I thought they deserved to win,"

Wales was clinical in the first half, taking points almost every time the team entered English territory.

The first three came inside two minutes from a penalty out wide by Halfpenny and when Webb ran a loop to take a brilliant offload from Taulupe Faletau and cross in the right corner, the Welsh were 10-0 ahead.

England soon settled and played the better, more incisive rugby. Flanker Haskell, lock George Kruis and center Joseph were only playing because of injuries to teammates but they will be difficult to unseat after their performances. England's strength in depth heading into the World Cup is impressive.

Watson gathered a grubber kick from Mike Brown to dive over in the right corner in the 15th and Ford traded penalties with Halfpenny to make it 13-8 after 32 minutes.

Dan Biggar landed a long-distance drop goal with the last kick of the first half but the English were not disheartened going in eight points adrift at halftime. And the first strains of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" " the song of English rugby " were heard when Joseph finished off a multi-phase move at the start of the second half by brushing off Biggar, bouncing off George North and darting over the line. Ford converted for 16-15.

It was all England and a third try almost arrived when Haskell charged through but was tackled into the post, bouncing off it with great force. England botched the next phase, but play was called back for a penalty that resulted in winger Alex Cuthbert getting a yellow card.

Ford kicked a penalty from in front of the posts and added another in the last minute, moments after England lock Dave Attwood had a try disallowed for obstruction by substitute Nick Easter earlier in the move.

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