London - England have clinched the Triple Crown and kept their Six Nations title
hopes alive with a 29-18 win over champions Wales at Twickenham on
On a sunny dry day, ideal for running rugby, England saw
scrum-half Danny Care and centre Luther Burrell score tries in a match
where fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 19 points.
All of Wales' points
came courtesy of six penalties from full-back Leigh Halfpenny as
England deservedly gained revenge for a record 30-3 defeat by the Welsh
in Cardiff last year that cost them a Grand Slam.
This defeat, though, ends Wales's hopes of an historic third successive Six Nations title.
was a first win against Wales for England coach Stuart Lancaster and it
was a timely one too, with this match the last between the old rivals
at Twickenham before they meet at the London ground in the pool stages
of the 2015 World Cup.
Victory left England, who finish the
Championship away to bottom of the table Italy on Saturday, level on
three wins from four games with both Ireland and France, who next face
one another in Paris.
A narrow French win over the Irish, who have
a huge points difference advantage, coupled with an England win in Rome
could see Lancaster's men take the title.
But this result meant
Wales, whose starring line-up included 12 of the British and Irish Lions
their coach Warren Gatland guided to a series win in Australia last
year, no longer had any chance of claiming an unprecendented third
successive outright Six Nations title following their defeat by Ireland
earlier in the tournament.
"I'm really proud," Lancaster told the BBC. "We set our attacking intent from the start.
"Leigh Halfpenny punished our indiscipline but we were deserved winners.
got one over us last year and that was in the back of our minds but
this is our day and I'm delighted and proud for the boys."
Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted: "We didn't keep the ball well
enough today, there were too many turnovers and we were hammered at the
scrum -- very disappointing.
"I don't think there's a lot between the two sides, and home advantage probably played a bit today," thw New Zealander added.
"But I take my hat off to England, who played very well and defended aggressively."
who dominated the much vaunted Welsh front row at the scrum, played by
far the more enterprising rugby yet turned round just 20-15 in front.
caught Wales cold in the fifth minute when, after prop David Wilson and
captain Chris Robshaw had taken them to within 10 metres of the
visitors' line, Care's typically quick tap penalty saw him cross for an
Farrell converted and England were 7-0 up.
Prior to that score, Wilson had been turned badly by Wales front-row Gethin Jenkins at a scrum.
Wilson then started to get on terms with the veteran Welshman
repeatedly warned by French referee Romain Poite for scrummaging at an
Halfpenny kicked the first of his penalties in the eighth
minute but England made it 10-3 when Farrell landed a 45 metre effort
after Poite penalised Jenkins at a scrum.
Halfpenny and Farrell exchanged penalties before the Welsh full-back cut England's lead to 13-9.
And in the 34th minute, England scored their second try.
An excellent cross-kick from Farrell set up a Welsh line-out deep in the visitors' 22.
Wales hooker Richard Hibbard's throw sailed over his intended recipient and England regathered possession.
ball was worked left before England's centres combined effectively,
Burrell quickest to Billy Twelvetrees's well-weighted grubber kick.
Farrell added the difficult conversion and England were 20-9 in front with five minutes of the first half left.
But that still gave Halfpenny the time to kick two more penalties.
however, forced another scrum penalty early in the second half after
which Poite warned Wales captain Sam Warburton that a repeat incident
would see one of his players sin-binned.
Even more importantly for England, Farrell kicked the 30 metre effort to put the hosts two scores in front at 23-15.
then twice threatened a try but England's defence held firm and when
Wales infringed once more at a scrum, Poite made good on his threat and
sent Jenkins, equalling Stephen Jones's Welsh appearance record of 104
caps, to the sin-bin.
Farrell then made it six goalkicks from as many attempts to leave England 26-15 in front.
cut England's lead with his sixth penalty only for Farrell to reply in
kind and, from 11 points down, there was no way back for Wales.