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England hold off Welsh fightback to keep grand slam hopes alive

Ben Stansall, AFP | England's wing Mike Brown (centre) makes a break against Wales at Twickenham on March 12, 2016.

England survived a late Welsh surge to put one hand on their first title for five years as an Anthony Watson try and 20 points for Owen Farrell helped them beat Wales 25-21 at Twickenham and leave them on course for a first grand slam since 2003.

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England play France next, knowing that their massive points advantage over the French, who visit Scotland on Sunday, means even a heavy defeat in Paris would be unlikely to deprive them of the Six Nations title following four successive second-place finishes under Stuart Lancaster.

With Wales due to host Italy in their final match, Saturday's Twickenham showdown was effectively a title decider – not to mention a chance for some sort of England revenge for their World Cup defeat in September.

Yet it was one-way traffic from the start as Watson's try and four penalties had them 19-0 ahead 15 minutes into the second period as Wales barely got out of their own half.

A chargedown try by Dan Biggar got the visitors on the board but England still looked comfortable until Wales burst into life with late tries by George North and Taulupe Faletau to revive memories of their stunning World Cup comeback – but this time England held out.

(REUTERS)
 

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