Welsh smash English to claim Six Nations

Wales 30 England 3

Welsh smash English to claim Six Nations

Wales 30 England 3

Wales retained the RBS 6 Nations title after wrecking England’s Grand Slam dream in record fashion at the Millennium Stadium.

Alex Cuthbert scored two second-half tries, Leigh Halfpenny kicked 12 points and Dan Biggar contributed eight, including a drop-goal, as Wales crushed England.

Wales scored 21 unanswered points after the interval to eclipse their previous biggest win against England of 25-0, which had stood for 108 years.

England established early territory with a driving lineout and then moved the ball wide quickly, but Manu Tuilagi, with a gap in the Welsh defence open in front of him, spilled Farrell's pass forwards.

The ball was hacked downfield and England full-back Alex Goode, under pressure from the closing Leigh Halfpenny, was forced to run the ball into touch deep in his own half.

Wales knocked on but won a free-kick at the resultant scrum and, when Joe Marler was penalised for not rolling away at the base of a ruck, Halfpenny kicked Wales into the lead.

The extraordinary noise inside the Millennium Stadium rose again when scrum-half Mike Phillips took a quick tap penalty and charged into the England half, holding Farrell at bay with his right arm, before he was checked by a ferocious Croft tackle.

Tuilagi released England wing Mike Brown down the left, but his offload from the tackle went to Welsh hands and Dan Biggar cleared downfield after Chris Ashton was penalised for going in at the side.

It was a careless penalty and just invited the pressure back on England, with Wales’ powerful ball-carriers hurtling into the red rose line.

England were struggling at the breakdown and a fourth penalty, this time conceded by Tom Youngs, allowed Halfpenny to land his second shot at goal.

Although Farrell responded with a successful first strike at goal, which went over off the right post, England’s scrum was penalised and Halfpenny made no mistake to give Wales a 9-3 lead.

England responded boldly. Farrell slipped a pass to Ashton and then fired one out to Brown who was quickly smothered. Jamie Roberts was penalised at the breakdown but Farrell missed his shot at goal.

England were building pressure but undermined their good work with too frequent mistakes. Geoff Parling made a half break but England failed to recycle the ball quickly enough and conceded the scrum. Although England won a penalty at the set-piece and went for touch they lost the lineout and Ben Youngs then wasted a promising attacking position by throwing an intercept pass on the Wales 22.

George North picked it off and ran straight through Ashton’s flimsy tackle before he was checked by Brown’s tap-tackle and Parling won the turnover.

Farrell stabbed a grubber kick through for Brown but he was wrapped up by Alex Cuthbert and spilled the ball forward.

Already hugely physical, things were getting feisty. Farrell appeared to check Halfpenny after he cleared downfield and Goode then squared up Justin Tipuric, complaining he had been tackled after a kick.

Phillips took another quick penalty after the England scrum had conceded another free-kick and Wales engineered a drop-goal attempt for Dan Biggar but his sweetly-struck effort missed to the left.

Wales opened the second half with a mistake from Halfpenny, whose clearance went straight to touch and gifted England a platform in Welsh territory.

England organised a powerful driving maul before Farrell sent Marler crashing into the Welsh defence but he failed to recycle and conceded the scrum.

The Welsh scrum won consecutive penalties and Goode then heightened the pressure on England by kicking his clearance out on the full and Wales laid siege on their opponents’ line.

Jamie Robert, Ian Evans, Richard Hibbard and Mike Phillips all drove close and were repelled by an England defence that had made 95 tackles to Wales’ 48 after just 50 minutes.

England had strayed offside during the assault on their line and when Jonathan Davies was wrapped up in midfield, referee Walsh brought play back and Halfpenny slotted the penalty.

England were fortunate to escape with only the three points on that occasion, but they were punished when Tom Wood was turned over and Wales capitalised with Cuthbert scoring in the corner.

England failed to get the numbers to the ruck to support Wood, Wales wrestled the ball clear and then spun it wide with Davies supplying the scoring pass to Cuthbert, who stormed down the touchline to score.

England had never come from more than 12 points down to win a Test – and they would not do so today as Wales turned the contest into a rout.

Farrell missed a penalty shot at goal after he had been felled by a high tackle from Toby Faletau and Wales turned the screw, with Biggar landing a drop-goal.

Warburton then galloped through a hole in the England defence to set up the platform for Wales’ second try which was finished brilliantly in the corner again by Cuthbert after being sent over by Tipuric.

Biggar extended the lead to a record margin with a penalty as Wales successfully retained the title for the first time since 1979 and inflicted the biggest defeat on England of Stuart Lancaster’s regime.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox