England recover to edge past youthful Wales

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England: (5) 16
Tries: Earl, Dingwall Pen: Ford 2
Wales: (14) 14
Tries: Penalty, Mann Con: Lloyd

England overturned another half-time deficit in the Six Nations to edge past a youthful and spirited Wales side at Twickenham.

As in Rome a week ago, England trailed at the break as Wales claimed a penalty try and an Alex Mann score to threaten a first win at Twickenham since 2015.

Fraser Dingwall scored in the corner to drag England to within a point before George Ford’s penalty sealed victory.

Ford made amends for his failure to convert Ben Earl’s first-half try.

The England fly-half was denied the chance to equalise when he was adjudged to have begun his conversion attempt despite not striding towards the ball as Wales rushed up to foil him.

Victory moves England to the top of the Six Nations table after they maintained their winning start to the tournament, while Wales claimed a losing bonus point and remain fifth despite two opening defeats.

England’s resilience prevails as attack falters

England were back at their Twickenham home and intent on putting on a show for the first time since their World Cup warm-up defeat by Fiji last summer.

Jamie George, in his first home game as captain, had promised greater endeavour in attack, and his side were true to their word in the opening stages as they started brightly.

Freddie Steward broke the line with a surging run in the opening minute and Ford’s kick wide handed them territory as Rio Dyer carried the ball into touch.

But while the ambition was clear to see, the final pass seemed to evade them.

By contrast, Wales had limited possession but scored from their first visit into the England 22 when they were awarded a penalty try for continual English infringements, resulting in Ethan Roots being sent to the sin bin.

Ben Earl powered over from the base of the scrum before controversy ensued with Ford’s conversion attempt. The England number 10 was not still in his set-up and it led to Wales closing him down and keeping their noses in front.

Tommy Reffell was a bright spark for the visitors and his incisive line opened up an England defence still trying to adjust to their new blitz defence as Mann dotted down their second try for a first half-time lead at Twickenham since 1980.

England were much improved after the interval but continued to struggle with their cutting edge in attack. The breakthrough came after a knock-on by the usually assured Josh Adams deep inside Welsh territory.

The hosts and their partisan crowd could smell blood and after the forwards pounded the red wall, the ball was moved wide for Dingwall to cross in the corner.

Ford’s late penalty completed the comeback as England prevailed despite another stuttering attacking display.

More to follow.

Line-ups

England: Steward; Freeman, Slade, Dingwall, Daly; Ford, Mitchell; Marler, George (capt), Stuart, Itoje, Chessum, Roots, Underhill, Earl.

Replacements: Dan, Genge, Cole, Coles, Cunningham-South, Care, F Smith, Feyi-Waboso

Sin bin: Chessum (10), Roots (16)

Wales: Winnett; Dyer, North, Tompkins, Adams; Lloyd, Williams; G Thomas, Dee, Assiratti, Jenkins (capt), Beard, Mann, Reffell, Wainwright.

Replacements: Elias, Domachowski, Griffin, Rowlands, Basham, Hardy, Evans, Grady.

Sin bin: Grady (70)

Match officials

Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) & Hollie Davidson (Scotland)

TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)



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