Wales: (17) 40
Tries: Adams, L Williams, Hardy, Hill Cons: Biggar 2, Sheedy 2 Pens: Biggar, Sheedy 3
England(14) 24
Tries: Watson, B Youngs Cons: Farrell Pens: Farrell 4

Wales won the Six Nations Triple Crown with victory against England at Principality Stadium.

Wales led 17-14 at half-time following controversial tries awarded by French referee Pascal Gauzere for Josh Adams and Liam Williams with Anthony Watson responding for England.

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy and Ben Youngs swapped second-half tries.

Callum Sheedy’s boot and a late try from Cory Hill sealed the bonus-point win.

Wales followed up their victories against Ireland and Scotland and now have away trips against Italy and France on March 13 and March 20 respectively in a bid to clinch a Grand Slam.

England will point to the two first-half Wales tries awarded, but will be also left to rue their continued indiscipline, with lock Maro Itoje especially guilty.

Adams’ score was allowed after a quickly taken tap penalty kick from Dan Biggar, while Williams crossed despite suggestions of a Louis Rees-Zammit knock-on in the build-up.

Defending champions England have now suffered their second defeat in three matches after an opening tournament loss to Scotland.

Plenty has been written about no crowds in sporting stadiums, but a Wales and England encounter in the Six Nations presented perhaps the eeriest atmosphere yet.

George North led the sides out in an empty stadium as he became the youngest player ever to win 100 caps for his country in one of five changes from the side that beat Scotland.

North, 28, was partnered by Jonathan Davies, who was selected after missing the opening two matches with an ankle injury.

England made two changes with hooker Jamie George coming in and flanker Mark Wilson replacing the injured Courtney Lawes.

In the regular minute’s silence to mark the stand against racism, half the England squad took the knee while Wales kept their usual stance of remaining standing.

England set the tone by giving away three early penalties in the opening five minutes with Biggar slotting over the opening three points.

Maro Itoje’s effective nuisance value almost paid off with an England try when he charged down a Hardy kick, but covering full-back Williams just beat his former Saracens team-mate to the touchdown.

Breaks from Elliot Daly and Youngs allowed Farrell to level the scores.

The first moment of controversy saw wing Adams cross to score after collecting a quick clever cross kick from a quickly taken Biggar penalty.

England captain Farrell argued vehemently there were water carriers on the field and his side had no chance to reset after being asked to speak to his team about their discipline.

But Gauzere batted away the complaints and allowed the score which Biggar converted.

It was, however, a special moment for Adams who was back in the starting side after serving a two-match suspension for breaking Covid-19 protocols.

Farrell reduced the deficit with his second penalty as Gauzere’s whistle continued to dominate proceedings.

The next disputed score occurred when Liam Williams crossed after Rees-Zammit fumbled possession from an Adams chip.

Gauzere gave an initial decision on the field of a try and a discussion with television match official Alex Ruiz and replays did not change his mind that Rees-Zammit had not knocked the ball on or was not in control of possession.

Biggar converted off the post and everything was going Wales’ way.

England responded almost immediately with a try from wing Watson from their first flowing move. Farrell missed the conversion, but slotted over a penalty to reduce the deficit to 17-14 at half-time.

Eddie Jones’ side might have fallen on the wrong side of the first-half decisions, but they will have been buoyed by the ball-carrying exploits of Billy Vunipola and Henry Slade.

A cagey second half saw both sides waiting for the other team to make a mistake and Wales flanker Josh Navidi was guilty of an error as he was penalised, but Farrell failed to level the scores.

Biggar left the field early in the second half after failing to shrug off a first-half knock with Callum Sheedy coming on.

Wales immediately lifted the tempo and Hardy took advantage of an off-guard England defence with a quickly taken penalty, after a clumsy offence from visiting lock Jonny Hill. Sheedy converted.

Farrell put England within a score with his third penalty before some encouraging ball-carrying bursts from the Vunipola brothers put the visitors on front foot before conceding another penalty.

It demonstrated England’s attacking intent and Youngs sniped over with Farrell converting to level the scores.

This shocked Wales into action with Sheedy’s incisive break and chip almost resulting in another try for Hardy, but he was denied and damaged his hamstring in the process.

Sheedy slotted over three late penalties to restore Wales’ advantage after more England indiscipline as the Bristol fly-half answered any doubts about his goal-kicking prowess at international level.

A late flurry saw Gloucester team-mates Jonny May and Rees-Zammit decide who was the fastest, but the Wales wing was just denied a try.

From the resulting scrum replacement lock Hill drove over to complete a bonus-point victory with Sheedy converting to complete a personal 13-point match defining display.

Man of the Match: Taulupe Faletau

Taulupe Faletau tackles Elliot Daley
The Wales number eight has returned to his world-class form in this campaign and enjoyed a barnstorming duel with England’s Billy Vunipola

Line-ups

Wales: L Williams; Rees-Zammit, North, J Davies, Adams; Biggar, Hardy; W Jones, Owens, Tomas Francis, Beard, AW Jones (capt), Navidi, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Dee, R Jones, Brown, Hill, Botham, G Davies, C Sheedy, Halaholo.

England: Daly; Watson, Slade, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Wilson, Curry, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Genge, Stuart, Ewels, Martin, Earl, Robson, Malins.

Match officials

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

Touch judges: Andrew Brace (Ireland) & Frank Murphy (Ireland)

TMO: Alex Ruiz (France)



Source link BBC NEWS UK

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