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Sport

England beat Wales to keep Six Nations hopes alive

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-09

England avenged their humiliating defeat in Cardiff last year with a convincing 29-18 win over defending champions Wales on Sunday, ending Welsh hopes of a record third consecutive Six Nations title.

England kept their Six Nations title hopes alive with a 29-18 win over champions Wales at Twickenham on Sunday, securing their first Triple Crown since 2003 in the process.

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.

This 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, had lost for the second time this Championship following a 26-3 drubbing by Ireland in Dublin.

Wales caught cold

England, 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.

They 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 unopposed try.

Farrell converted and England were 7-0 up.

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.

England scored their second try in the 34th minute after 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, with Burrell picking up Billy Twelvetrees's well-weighted grubber kick.

Farrell added the seemingly 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.

England were less adventurous as the game went on, but their impressive defence kept the Welsh pinned deep as the champions, seeking a fourth successive win over England, tried desperately to claw back an 11-point deficit going into the final quarter.

They did not ever really look like doing so and it was England who finished the stronger, Burrell desperately close to a second score after brilliant length-of-the pitch move featuring off-loads and one-handed passes rarely seen from the men in white.

The teams will meet again at Twickenham in the pool phase of the 2015 World Cup, when, with Australia also in their group, the result is likely to be even more important.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

Date created : 2014-03-09

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