Wales 30 England 3
Stuart Lancaster vowed to hold his nerve and keep building a young England team towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup, despite the shattering experience of losing out on both the Grand Slam and RBS 6 Nations title on Saturday.
Wales stormed to a record 27-point victory to retain the championship crown and inflict more last-day misery on England, who also lost Grand Slam deciders in 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2011. Clive Woodward, who was in charge for three of those campaigns before going on to win the Rugby World Cup in 2003, claimed England’s “bubble has been burst” and urged Lancaster to rethink his approach.
“To me, coaching England is [about] your next game. You are picking a team to win on Saturday. It is not about too much development. He has to take that on board now,” Woodward said.
Lancaster conceded his side’s inexperience proved costly against a Wales side which has now won four Six Nations titles in nine years — but he maintained England are on the right path.
“I do believe the journey we are on and the plan we have is the right one,” Lancaster said. “We have had more ups than downs. This is a down but we will hold our nerve and stick with the plan because I believe it will come good.”
Leigh Halfpenny kicked three penalties as Wales held a 9-3 interval lead. The English scrum, creaking in the first half, fell apart in the second.
When England fumbled the ball 30 metres from their line Wales struck as Justin Tipuric and Mike Phillips found centre Jonathan Davies, who freed Alex Cuthbert to open up a 14-point lead.
When Cuthbert added his second touchdown, following another lung-busting effort from Tipuric after Dan Biggar had dropped a goal, it was game over, before Biggar slotted a penalty and wild Welsh celebrations could begin.
While the margin of victory eclipsed the previous best,a 25-0 win 108 years ago, centre Jamie Roberts believes there is more to come from the team.
“That’s the scary thing,” Wales centre Roberts said. “That is what drives us forward as a team.”
WALES: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, Davies, Roberts, North, Biggar, Phillips, Jenkins, Hibbard, A. Jones, A. Jones, Evans, Warburton, Tipuric, Faletau.
Replacements: Shingler for Roberts (75), Hook for Biggar (75), L. Williams for Phillips (75), James for Jenkins (61), Owens for Hibbard (52), Coombs for Evans (70), S. Williams for Warburton (75).
ENGLAND: Goode, Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Brown, Farrell, B. Youngs, Marler, T. Youngs, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Croft, Robshaw, Wood.
Replacements: Twelvetrees for Goode (64), Flood for Farrell (67), Care for B. Youngs (64), Vunipola for Marler (44), Hartley for T. Youngs (52), Wilson for Cole (72), Lawes for Launchbury (52), Haskell for Wood (67).
Ref: Steve Walsh (Australia).
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